Schubert - Piano Sonata in A major, D.664

So I have decided to perform at the tonebase the community concert for September. I started off this year learning the first movement on Schubert's A major sonata during the Schubert community challenge in March. I continued through the year learning the second moment and am currently trying to polish up the 3rd movement.  It is by far the hardest piece I have tried to get under my fingers. To even attempt this was quite an accomplishment for myself. I started out about a year and a half ago after an almost 20 year "break" from the piano. It was initially incredibly frustrating as I kept comparing myself to how I used to play as a child. Finding the motivation to push though was very difficult and honestly I think without a community like tonebase I might have never been able to get back to my old level (and maybe even a bit better!). I am going to be blogging here over the next few weeks to detail the work that I am putting in so that my performance at the end of the month is a musical as I can possibly make it. I also welcome any suggestions and critiques of my playing!

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    • Michael
    • mpetnuch
    • 1 mth ago
    • Reported - view

    First full run though. Some commentary, I always find starting a piece so difficult. My mind seems to be everywhere except where it should be, i.e. on the temp and the music I am about to play!

     

    Aside from a few memory lapses I am pretty happy with how this went. The German dance section of the A part is finally sounding nice. I had the hardest time getting the mordents to sound correct. I still don't like my staccato. I definitely could use some suggestions here. My teacher tells me to fall into the keys, and I have tried that but I think I can't get myself to fully commit. 

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      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 4 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Michael Yeah, when I took Organic I was 19 years old and it seemed easier than memorizing a whole Sonata, even back then!

       

      i don’t have time today, but I’ll get the score tomorrow and see if I can work out a good way to do the staccato in that section.  I probably won’t have any better luck than you, but I will try.

       

       (This evening I have a rehearsal for the Baroque Orchestra that I just joined. They have a digital harpsichord for me to play.)

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    • Gail Starr
    • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
    • Gail_Starr
    • 1 mth ago
    • Reported - view

    Great job, Michael!  You are doing a wonderful job on this sonata!

     

    I'm not sure what your teacher means exactly when s/he says to "fall" into the keys, but maybe they mean to play "deeper" into the keys in order to get a richer, deeper tone?

     

    I'm super impressed with your memory work.  (Memorizing always scares me.)  And I like your mordents!

     

    About the staccato, are you referring the waltz pattern in the LH?  Do you feel like you aren't putting the accent on the first beat and then the staccato isn't strong enough? Please let me know exactly where you are concerned and maybe I can help you figure out what to fix.  

     

    Maybe spend a bit of time thinking about your dynamic range and where exactly you'd like to have the most emphasis in this movement?

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      • Michael
      • mpetnuch
      • 4 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Gail Starr thank you so much for listening to my practice session. Let me try to clarify what I was referring to. Per my staccato, I meant in general, not just in during the lander/waltz section.  I feel like I have to problems:

      • I find it hard to control the dynamics or at least differentiate repeated staccato notes, which happens during the main melody line
      • I feel that my staccato is too short and sharp. This seems seems most noticeable to me during the lander section which is very dry to begin which. My teacher suggests that I need to use more arm weight and "fall into the keys". He says what I do is stop right before I would hit the note and instead just pluck the key using finger action. I can't seems to figure out to commit to just letting my hands fall into the key bed for the staccato. During our lesson he had demonstrated the sound difference between what I do and what he wants me to do and I feel you can definitely hear the difference in what the other technique produces.

       

      It's funny that you mention memory with regards to this piece. It actually took me way longer on this piece. The way that I approached it was to learn in sections. However, once I tried to put it together I would get so confused because each time he modulates into a different key it's not just a transpositions but it changes it slightly and I kept on getting confused as to what key I was in. So I had to almost relearn the memory for the piece as a whole instead of just trying to stitch the section together in my head. I wish I had more time during Ben Laude 's masterclass as I think the key to memorization is having a good feel for the harmonic structure of the piece. Oh, that and organic chemistry. When you take that class you are forced to become a good memorizer :)

      Like 1
    • Michael
    • mpetnuch
    • 4 wk ago
    • Reported - view

    I thought it would be useful to share some of the tips and tricks I used while learning this movement. It's is far tricker than the other two and required (for me at least)  to channel my inner Claire Huangci with a host of special fingering, hand substitutions, et. al. Hopefully you find it helpful. Will attempt to post an annotated score later on indicating my fingering and techniques I highlighted in my video.

    Like 1
    • Gail Starr
    • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
    • Gail_Starr
    • 3 wk ago
    • Reported - view

    Hey Michael!

    I listened to your recording again last night, and i think I MIGHT have an idea a you your left hand staccato (if that is what you were concerned about?).  I certainly can NOT play it any better than you do, but I might be able to show you what I THINK you teacher is suggesting.  

     

    (CAVEAT: I am a TOTAL amateur who hasn’t had professional lessons in many, many years).

     

    Also, maybe the mordents need to have more of any accent when you start them?

     

    I’ll make a tiny video to show you tomorrow.

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    • Michael
    • mpetnuch
    • 3 wk ago
    • Reported - view

    Had a really great lesson with my teacher yesterday. Really focused on a lot of the smaller details like my articulation and dynamic variation. I have not been able to implement them all, but I have a better idea of what I need to do to produce a more pleasing and musical interpretation of the piece. I actually also had a really great practice session so I thought it would be good to record. Unfortunately I had a bunch of (new) misses during the recording, and while I think it's a marked improvement from my last practice update, it's not what I want to present yet. Hopeful that I can really clean this all up by the 24th. 

    Like 2
      • Joao Pio Pedreira
      • Developer web+mobile, tech entrepreneur
      • Joao_Pio_Pedreira
      • 3 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Hi Michael , joined tonebase today and got very curious with your post, since I'm also playing D664. One thing you do (and I also do), but nobody else does (talking about reference pianists performances) is the mordentes on the III mov a tempo (i.e., they start with the beat instead of finishing with the beat). Does your teacher agree? I clearly prefer the mordent that way, but have little evidence to support it :-) Looking forward for your reply, Joao. 

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    • Michael Good work, I cant wait to ear you play it at the September concert! 

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      • Michael
      • mpetnuch
      • 2 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Joao Pio Pedreira hrm... I will have to run this by my teacher and ask his opinion. I feel like we had so many things to work on last lesson to clean up we didn't even finish going over the whole piece! But will bring it up at the beginning.

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      • Michael
      • mpetnuch
      • 2 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Aline Valade thank you very much! I think I am feeling more confident and looking forward to playing as well.

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    • Michael
    • mpetnuch
    • 2 wk ago
    • Reported - view

    Attaching a cold practice session from this evening. While it was far from my best I think at this point if I could have something that resembles this for this weekend I would be happy. I still have a few days left to polish up. The frustrating thing for me though right now is that when I do detail work on the smaller sections to get them down it falls apart when I attempt to put it all tougher. I think this is especially prevalent when the A section returns in E-major. At that point I think I get a little mentally tired and start to lose focus.

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