Last Thursday morning I had my final performance exam, overall it went very well. I played both pieces at a suitable speed, it helped that I had the right footwear for peddling purposes, I adjusted the stool height and position for playing I felt relaxed and for the challenge; I am awaiting the feedback. The whole day of performances was very enjoyable, in a way it was like a series of concerts. It was nice to hear a showcase of the pieces that my fellow students were playing.
Last Thursday I played the whole of the second movement of Mozart's Piano Concerto no.21 in C, with my piano teacher Neil Metcalf playing the orchestral part.This was very enjoyable and Neil was very please about how it sounded and I am going to use it on my final performance exam on the 30th of May. I will also be playing the Grieg, 'Wedding Day at Troldhaugen' for my performance exam.
Today I have listened to this version of the Mozart Piano Sonata no.21 in C Major with the Orchestra Filharmonia La Scala and Pianist Maurizio Paulini; conductor Riccardo Mutti. This energetic but very tight performance is very enjoyable and I am jealous of Paulini being able to play with such an orchestra. I will imagine the strings when I am practising the Allegro (2nd movement @ 14m25s)
For the last couple of piano lessons I have been learning the slow movement of Piano Concert no.21 by Mozart. I have been listing to Alicia de Larrocha playing this piece and for fun I have also been playing along with the you tube clip. I am really enjoying this piece and I find that the chord shapes fit my hands well and the relevant pauses suit me and allow me to sustain the playing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHgFqHhE53g
On friday after missing Neil and Laurie (both sadly unwell) I wanted to take a look for resources to do with practice and performance. Wow, there is a lot available through the fabulous WWW. Just two I would like to highlight here are Graham Fitch and The Pianist Magazine. Both were well worth the look. The rigmarole of signing up for the magazine website was worth it. The video clips were especially informative and it didn't cost a penny beyond powering my Macbook! Follow the links to explore.
Today I had my exam. We are filmed doing our performances. I prepared myself by dressing in what I considered appropriate dress for the occasion: smart black and grey. I feel this helps me get into the right frame of mind; as if I was doing a professional gig. I will be able to closely assess my playing through the recording later on. Overall my immediate opinion of my playing today was that it was satisfactory. I feel I benefited from my earlier preparation and careful listening to professional recordings of the works.
We have the opportunity to enjoy our peers performing and I thought everyone had pushed themselves to achieve a high standard with difficult pieces.
Over the last few weeks I have been preparing my two pieces for my performance exam. Now the practice is all over as the assessment is tomorrow.
First I will be playing Gymnopedie 1 by Eric Satie. The first of three works grouped as Gymnopedies published around 1888. The piece is in ternary form, 3/4 time, in D Major with a central passage in D Minor. The performance directions are: sad and slow (Lent et Douloureux)
The second piece I will play is Nocturne op54 fromLyric Pieces bk.5 By Edvard Grieg. It's home key is C Major with a weaving polytonal middle section before returning to the home key. Direction is Andante (moderate or walking speed). Both pieces require considerable use of pedals.( Good for the leg muscles.)
These works have both been a good challenge. The Gymnopedie especially as it has demanding spread chords for my small stretch and wide leaps. Today for my final long practice I also listened to good examples of the works on the Naxos Music Library. This is a wonderful resource. This listening practice has helped me realise better the dynamics of both pieces. Also that I was trying to play the Gymnopedie too fast and that the Nocturne has a feeling of reflection. I hope I can do these lovely pieces justice tomorrow.
Last Thursday my tutor recorded me playing Gymnopodie No.1 by Eric Satie. I thought I played the piece well but I made one minor mistake. Unfortunately I played one of the chords wrong near the end of the piece so this will need to be corrected with more practice. I will try to add a little more expression before recording again for the performance exam in January.
On Sunday I listened to Nocturne Op.54 by Grieg. I am really looking forward to learning this piece of music as it will fit very well with the Satie and Gymnopodie peices.
On the the 28th of October I am performing in a 'Trinity Achievers Concert', at the Reid Hall here in Edinburgh. I am going to be playing an excerpt from Mendelssohn's Song Without Words. I will be performing the Song Without Words in f sharp minor. I am a little nervous about this because the last time I played this piece was for my Grade 8 piano exam. I am going to do a practice of this in performance class this coming Thursday morning. I hope it goes well and, that I don't hit any wrong notes but, as my Mum says: I should think of a bird of prey when performing this excerpt because it sounds like a bird flying and then landing.