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Building a New Repertoire!

Discussion in 'Repertoire' started by GioelleColeman, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. GioelleColeman

    GioelleColeman New Member

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    Hi Piano Society! I'm a newbie around these parts, but I figured I wanted to ask many a-people rather than just one or two. For years I've been studying Mozart and Beethoven and Bartok like every early piano player... for yeeears. The good news is that I moved to a boarding school and now I have a new teacher who's amazing, but doesn't necessarily know a ton of pieces, as he is more of teacher, though his technique is jaw-dropping.

    Long story short, since I'm starting with him, I want to build a REAL repertoire for applying to colleges, as I have a couple years to do so. I am really into the composers in the Moguchaya Kuchka (Balakirev, Mussorgsky, Rismky-Korsakov, Cui, and Borodin) and would like to build a repertoire using both easy and more difficult pieces from Russia during the Nationalist movement and especially from "The Five" (as Stasov so astutely dubbed them).

    I am not a dilettante looking to impress people or to be cool or whatever other reason hobbyists pick up the piano. I am a learning composer and the music director at my school looked me straight in the eyes and said, "If you want to be a successful composer, you need to start taking piano much more seriously (though I practice two hours a day while having a job, school and other priorities) and you should take an intensive strictly for piano as one of your classes." I am doing so now, and will be spending the next two years building a solid repertoire.

    SO THE BIG QUESTION!!! What pieces should I place onto my repertoire? I am pretty agile and familiar with the piano, able to play Mozart's K450 Mov. 1 and the finale to Liszt's Hungarian Fantasy (yes, with beading sweat, even if I haven't played the entire piece... and I still have a couple parts I could improve and play better, as still a young student, but this was to see technically where I was). What do you think, Piano Society?

    Thank you all!
    G. Coleman
     
  2. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    The short and snappy answer is: the pieces you like. Go to Youtube and look up pieces by your favorite composers. By all means follow up on YT's suggestions, which are usually to the point, and dig around on channels you are listening to. This is how I got to know Cesar Cui's wonderful preludes.
    Rimsky and Borodin did not write all that much for piano but even they have some good pieces.
    And play Bach, of course. You may find you don't like it much, especially at a young age, but he'll grow on you and get you in the end. There is no better music to practice all aspects of your music making.
     
  3. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    What do these possible colleges require of you for the audition? That has to be your focus. If you can share that with us, then we might be able to provide the list of stepping-stones.
     
  4. GioelleColeman

    GioelleColeman New Member

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    I'm not majoring in piano in college, I'd like to major in Comp/Theory and minor in Conducting; and if conducting isn't offered then Music History as a minor. I'd like to to continue piano with lessons, but I don't think I'd major or minor piano performance as a sort of ordeal not unless Music History AND Conducting weren't offered. Because of this, do you think I will still have to send in a recording and audition?

    Sorry if I didn't answer your question exactly.
     
  5. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    That changes everything. In your case, the purpose for studying piano is to master an understanding of all the basic elements of music, as the piano and piano literature is uniquely capable to do so as a single instrument. IMO (and I have taught theory and composition before) your pupose between now and then is to learn all that you can about music before getting to college. This is the principle distinction (and what is sought) in theory/comp majors as compared to all the performers: KNOWLEDGE! You should not have ANY deficiency whatsoever on aspects that would be taught in an Introductory Theory Course. Additionally, you should already know much of what would be taught in the 1st year theory/harmony (diatonic) and some of what would be taught in the second year (chromatic harmony) too. You should be able to speak at some level about form and analysis on such common forms as rondo, Sonata form, fugue, etc. The basic thrust I'm trying to give you is that where most music majors would have spent their time prior to college learning pieces and advancing their performing skills, one who goes into Theory/Comp is one whose approach to music has been intellectural during those same years. You should know the literature better than the piano majors, who are always the majors who know music better than everyone else to begin with (because of the fusion of the elements of music found therein). You should be liestening to music voraciously and following along with score in hand to begin absorbing a wealth of knowledge. Before you get to college (and especially if you hope to be looked upon favorably during your evaluation for admittance), make sure you have knowledge and understanding of at least the following:

    Contribution of Guido D'Arezzo in the development of the staff (and the Hymn to St. John chant)
    Understanding the why and how of all the clefs (there are 7 of them not counting duplications. Would you know how to handle "French Violin" clefs found in the flute parts of a Bach chorale?)
    Intervals (Number, Quality, Inversions)
    All major and minor (all forms) scales
    Chords in all inversions
    Meter (understanding what simple, compound and complex means regarding quality, and what duple, triple and quadruple mean regarding quantity) I would be disappointed to learn that you thought 6/8 meter means "six beats" to the bar. That is a shallow understanding that is only practical.
    Shifts of percieved meter (hemiola)
    Anything having to do with understanding and notating rhythm (including irregular groupings and sesqui-rhythms)
    Principles of transposing instruments
    Principles of tonality and related keys (and a basic understanding of the mechanism in establishing new tonal centers, i.e. modulation)
    Articulations, espcially for instruments of the orchestra
    The layout of an orchestral score
    Familiarity with at least one major choral work (in fact, experiencing singing in a choir is also most useful)
    Basic understanding of the principle features and characteristics of the disperate style periods
    Have some favorite modern/contemporary works that you can talk about.

    Additionally, I would recommend that you purchase a miniature score and CD of the Brahms Variations on a Theme of Haydn (the orchestral version {and know what is the other version}) and begin to analyze its features and characterisitc and learn how this great master manipulates the different elements of music for each variation. Note what is so different about the orchestration of the theme that makes the first variation stand in such beautiful contrast. Once you feel that you know this work like a professional composer or conductor, then you are ready to try your hand at an excellent student assignment: Take the introduction to Chopin's 2nd Ballade for piano (in F major) and use it as a theme for your own variations (for piano). Such could serve as part of your portfolio.

    Whew, that's a lot but clearly shows you the path to success.

    Best wishes,
    Eddy
     
  6. GioelleColeman

    GioelleColeman New Member

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    Heh well... I am a composition and theory student, so all but one or two are from a few years back! Thank you so much for your reply and I hope we talk more in the future. I will go over this list again, but this is... this is incredible!!!! :D

    -Gioelle
     
  7. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    You are, or you would like to be? :?
     
  8. dctpianist

    dctpianist New Member

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    I think he means that he's already well versed in theory from his studies in high school and that will be his major in college.
     
  9. GioelleColeman

    GioelleColeman New Member

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    Gosh, I lost my password, and I'm finally back on.

    First, let's correct that to "she." Gioelle is a girl's name :) But second, yes, I am well-versed in these things. And third, I've got a decent repertoire almost polished for my upcoming recital. Of the pieces I've learned since being here, I've chosen about fifteen to twenty minutes of music, since that is all that's allotted for us in the recital. Here are the pieces:

    ~ Mozart: Fantasie in D Moll
    ~ Janacek: Intermezzo Erotico
    ~ Prokofiev: Visiones Fugitives: Movements I & X
    ~ Ravel: Menuet (Op. Post) and Menuet sur le Nom d'Haydn

    I'll probably do some recordings after the recital and I'll put them on Youtube!
     
  10. YoungPianoVirtuoso

    YoungPianoVirtuoso New Member

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    I recommend a Beethoven Sonata, perhaps a later one, a Liszt etude, a Chopin Waltz, a few Bach Inventions, A Mozart sonata, a piece of Alkan, and a Schubert piano sonata.
     

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