Paul Berry (stereotype441) wrote,
Paul Berry

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I think I am finally starting to win my battle against the Brahms e-minor sonata for piano and cello1. It's really a lovely piece of music--I think I was drooling the first time I heard it. Unfortunately, it's also very hard. For a very long time I was at a plateau where everything up to the repeat was ok, and then after that it got really slow and painful. After getting nowhere for about a month, I finally faced the inevitable on Saturday and bought a metronome.

Saturday evening I found that with the exception of a few measures, I could basically get through everything at the funerial speed of 69 bpm. I figure 100 bpm would be bearable for an audience. Fortunately my housemates haven't complained yet. Since then I've been increasing speed by one notch per evening, which brought me to 76 tonight. I don't particularly like practicing with a metronome, but I can't deny that this is more progress than I've made in weeks.

I'm also working on the Vivaldi concerto in G minor for two cellos and piano2. I think it's a piano reduction of an orchestral score, which is a new experience for me. You can kind of tell that it wasn't written with the piano in mind. Like a lot of Vivaldi, it's lively and energetic but not really beautiful. I think I will enjoy playing it more once I get it up to tempo.

Those are the serious hard pieces I'm working on. For fun I'm doing Clementi sonatinas (laugh all you like, I think they're great), Kabalevsky's Sonatina for piano3, Joplin's Solace, Bach's Prelude in Eb major4, and a handful of other short pieces from back when I used to take lessons.

One of these days I ought to have a recital.

1Op. 38, if you're keeping track. conform got me interested in it.
2RV 531, whatever that means. Also recommended by conform.
3Op. 13, No. 1
4From volume 1 of the Well-Tempered Clavier. I can't find my score to the Well-Tempered Clavier, so I'd better keep practicing this one lest I forget it.
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