WEEK TWO Updates: Main Thread - Brahms could be so charming!

Hello and welcome to the WEEK TWO Main Thread for this challenge! 🤩

 


Alright everyone - this is the thread where we'll all be posting our daily updates.    

Make sure you've read the rules before replying (<- click)

 

Twice a week between November 9-15th I hope to be reading your daily updates in this very thread right here!    


Download the music:

Brahms: 16 Waltzes op.39


Please use the following format when commenting (feel free to copy & paste!):    

  • Waltz you worked on:
  • One thing you found easy:
  • One thing you found difficult:
  • (Optional): a video of you performing it!

Sample daily update:    

  • Waltz you worked on: No. 1
  • One thing you found easy: Learning the notes, and rhythms were rather straight-forward, and not challenging!
  • One thing you found difficult: Shifting the Hands was a bit tricky to get smooth!

Feel free to make these updates as short or long as you wish!

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    • Monika Tusnady
    • The Retired French Teacher
    • Monikainfrance
    • 8 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    What I worked on: Waltzes 6 to 11

    What was easy: What’s easy about playing Brahms? Nothing.

    What was challenging: Again, finding the right character – it’s all impossibly complex. First, I needed to discard the image of “Brahms the complex, humorless, bearded guy” and replace it with “Brahms dancing in the twilight with Clara Schumann.” Forget about the fact that he dedicated these waltzes to Hanslick: I mean, he could hardly dedicate something this intimate to the wife of a friend. More than anything, Op. 39 seems to show the many, nuanced facets of a love that is illicit but oh-so-real. I began thinking this way when I realized how many of the waltzes have a rise in emotion but then retreat, as if to say: “No-no, I didn’t really mean to say this, so sorry if I went too far, please don’t take it the wrong way!” 

    Well, I’m just saying, not expecting anyone to agree. 

    I've mentioned this in my very first post but here it is again: I've been working on these waltzes for some time hoping to have them ready by Christmas and NO, I didn't and couldn't possibly learn them in a couple of weeks. 

    The photography is always mine. 

    Like 5
    • Monika Tusnady Very good Monica! I liked your no. 6 and 11 best. (And the keyboard now sounds more like a piano...)

      Like 1
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Richard George Littlewood 😊. Photography went digital more than two decades ago and most of us appreciate that change. In a similar way, I enjoy the evolution of pianos 🎹 . The difference in sound that you noted can be attributed to the use of a GoPro instead of an iPhone  for the recording  🎤

      Like 1
      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Monika Tusnady Brava! Great performance! You will definitely have them all ready for christmas. I will continue working on these in desember too. Very worthwhile to have on the repertoire :)  

      I like all of your tempi. I think with nr 6, if it is played fast, one doesn't get to really appreciate all to funny twists and turns. 

      I think it's lovely that we get to learn more about Brahms this month, and the fact that he of course had different sides to his personality. I will listen to the rise and fall of emotions as you mentioned, great observation. It's pretty clear that he wanted to create many different nuances and moods with this waltzes. 

      Like 1
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Sindre Skarelven thank you! I look forward to preparing the waltzes that we are both working on to open up this conversation some more. Small question for you: do you feel that you understand a piece better AFTER you have posted a recording? This has been the case for me: I feel embarrassed 🙈 but celebrate the learning. 

      Like 1
      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Monika Tusnady Yes, absolutely! Both understanding the piece, and of course hearing my own playing of it. I'm learning a lot from recording, and it usually gives some new thoughts/insights to the piece! 

      Like 1
    • Monika Tusnady absolutely lovely! What a wonderful accomplishment to have these great pieces in your head and under your fingers! 

      Like 1
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Susan thank you! It was a lot of work, every minute of it so totally worthwhile. My life has been - and continues to be - so enriched by these waltzes. 

      Like 1
      • Juan Carlos Olite
      • Philosophy teacher and piano lover
      • Juan_Carlos
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Monika Tusnady Great playing, Monika!  I like the character your bring to this music, it is perfectly right. If I had to choose one of the Waltzes you play, I choose 7, very beautiful!

      Like 1
    • Sindre Skarelven
    • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
    • Sindre_Skarelven
    • 8 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Week 2 update

    Hello TB-family! 

    Waltzes: 10 - 15

    Easy: Having a great time with Brahms! 

    Challenging: If you take a look at the video, you can see there is work needed to be done in every waltz! When I was recording today I mest up every time I got to 14, so I decided to just make a new video from there.

    I will continue with this set for the last week, and see if I can make a better recording next week :) 

    Like 6
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Sindre Skarelven Well done! What wonderful and worthwhile work to learn all these. I love that you move between serious and more playful even within one waltz: I also feel these shifts within the individual pieces. I was surprised at your tempo in 14: there is sooo much happening here, technically and otherwise, it’s hard to keep on top of it all at any speed - wow! 15 is a nice note to end on, isn’t it? Almost everyone knows it and can relax into the familiarity of it. You have set the bar nice and high with your post - thank you!

      Like 2
      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Monika Tusnady Thank you, Monika! To me, 15 is the perfect ending of this collection, and perhaps move 16 earlier in the set.

      Like 1
    • Sindre Skarelven fantastic progress for only two weeks! Very inspirational. You have laid a wonderful foundation and sound beautiful already.  

      Like 2
      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Susan Thank you, Susan! Yes, I think the music starting to come together in a nice way:) Looking very much forward to your video!  

      Like 2
    • Sindre Skarelven Sindre, this is just brilliant. So impressed.

      Like 2
      • Juan Carlos Olite
      • Philosophy teacher and piano lover
      • Juan_Carlos
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Sindre Skarelven Very good job, Sindre! These Waltzes you have chosen have different characters and difficulties, but you give this music an appropriate atmosphere. 

      Like 2
      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Chad Langford Thank you so much, Chad!

      Like 1
      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Juan Carlos Olite Thank you, Juan Carlos! Yes, it’s fascinating how different in characters these waltzes are! 

      Like 1
  • Hi Sindre, I am fascinated by your capacity to memorize! So Quickley ! Wow! What is your technique for memorizing quickley ? Good work! I love  these waltzes, 11 to 15 ! Bravo! 

    Like 3
      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Aline Valade Thank you, Aline! I can share with you some of things that makes me able to memorize fast. 

      1. I practice memorizing regularly. The memory is kind of like a muscle, when you practice it, it gets stronger. 

      2. I know all about chords/shapes/structures/scales in music. That makes it easier, because of instead of memorizing individual notes, I just memorize the larger structures of the music.

      3. I do repetitions of sections to get it ingrained in my fingers. 

      4. Before concerts I will also do some visualizations and mental practices. 

      Set up some "easy" goals for memorizing. Don't try on something too difficult. Be patient and enjoy the process.

      Hope this helps! 

      Like 2
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