b Riding East: July 2016

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Chopin Prelude in F# Major Op 28 no 13

My cute eight-year-old daughter Sabine recorded me playing Chopin today.  Sabine was a flower in the Hillview Middle School production of Jungle Book this past Saturday.  I've included a shot from her show.  As you can see, the tiger was really good.  I also loved the palm tree.  Nice touch.  You can see Sabine as the flower next to the plant on the left.  The plant had a lot of energy throughout the show.

I learned most of the Chopin preludes a year ago and decided to come back to some of them the past couple days.  The F# Major op 28 no 13 is such a gem.  The lines of this piece are amazing, especially the embedded/implied inner lines.  I love, for example, how he starts on the octave (A#) in both hands. The piu lento sostenuto in the middle of the piece is another great example of the wonderful lines and inner melodies Chopin develops.  So precious. 

It seems all young pianists love Chopin, and understandably so.  I felt there was almost too much bias towards Chopin when I played more in college, and was determined to venture out.  I'm older now and find myself coming back to Chopin.  

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Sunday morning playing Brahms in pajamas

A typical Sunday morning playing the piano in my PJs. My daughter Charlie filmed this on my iPhone 6. Sound quality is ok, not great.  When I take the time to bring in my high end microphones, it becomes a whole day affair of recording, and I didn't have the courage today. So this iPhone captured spontaneous and scraggly recording will have to do.

I've learned this entire set of the Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann, Op 9, by Johannes Brahms.  I love this piece.  My goodness.  I've never found a more intimate character piece in all of art.  The story of Robert's life with Clara, from marriage through his death.

I play three variations from the set in this performance (in my pajamas), namely 7, 8, and 9.  The meter in Variation 7 moves from 4 to 3, almost representative of a life cut short.  Variation 8 is one of the most amazing canons ever written.  Truly inspired.  Variation 9 seems to suggest the storm that is coming in all of its despair, the beginning of the end perhaps.

Yes, I know, I need to learn how to play the piano in piano.  Working on it.  Also, I really haven't perfected this set yet.  This was more of a morning romp.  I'm hoping for a recital that would include this set, the first French Suite from Bach in D minor, Janáček's X. 1905, maybe some Ravel, and then a few of my own pieces along side Rachmaninoff.