Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sunday Classics Preview: We hear three more pianists (plus a video bonus!) play those first two Chopin preludes


Here are the first six preludes from Cecile Licad's performance of Chopin's complete Op. 28 in Minneapolis, May 2003.

by Ken

Last night we heard four distinguished pianists (A, B, C, and D), out of a group of six of diverse national origins, playing the first two preludes from Chopin's Op. 28 set of 24, in C major and A minor. Sure, we could just get it over with now and identify them, but that, it seems to me, would be the easy thing to do. Instead, why don't we add three more distinguished pianists to the mix -- let's call them X, Y, and Z -- and suggest something fairly simple to listen for in each prelude?



We hear two recodings of Op. 28, No. 1, by pianist Y, followed by Op. 28, No. 2.



For the C major Prelude, I'm merely re-offering the suggestion I made last night: As you listen, try to figure out what the basic rhythm of this tiny piece is. Obviously the melody is made up of a series of simple bars with two beats to the bar, but how equal or unequal are those two beats meant to be?

For the A minor Prelude, even if you can't read a note of music, you can see that the left hand is playing primarily what looks like a very basic accompaniment figure, waiting for the right hand to chime in with what turns out to be nothing very obviously melodic. So the question, as you listen, is: What/where is the "tune"?


We'll hear all seven pianists' performances again, arranged in order of recording, and I'll suggest some listening possibilities for the two preludes.


The current list is here.

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At 10:07 AM, Anonymous Bil said...

OK, I AM behind on my homework here, but the music links aren't coming up for me. Maybe I forgot to pay my flash bill somewhere?

THANKS Ken and THANKS for the contest prize and BONUS!

Yes, campers, there really ARE contest prizes (occasionally) and BONUSES!


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