Running Away

Image by Sam Howzit via Flickr

With apologies to Mendelssohn, there are 2 “Songs Without Words” that I forgot to include in my previous post.

Op. 53, No. 2  “The Fleecy Clouds”

This song needs to move.  Fleecy Clouds don’t need ploddy triplets!  When I play this, I imagine clouds on a windy day.

There are big dynamic contrasts, sforzandi, and  melodic lines that switch from one hand to the other.

I found that my left hand needed to work on its melody in order to play in tempo and keep the details clear:  grace notes, 2 against 3, accents and marcato.

Another challenge is playing the repeated triplet 8ths with the left thumb while sustaining another note with the 5th finger, an octave or more away.

I took a little time in a few spots, moving the tempo immediately after.

This is a beautiful piece, and I was happy to record it.

Op. 62, No. 1

We did not record this song, but I may include it in a future recital program.  (My left hand needs more time!)

The tempo and flexibility seem to have settled.  But my left hand is way too heavy.

This is the way I’m practicing the left hand at the moment:

  • Play the low note with the 5th finger.
  • Pedal to sustain ~ you don’t want a gap!
  • Release the 5th finger, moving hand (relaxed), and play the 2nd note with the 2nd finger.
  • Immediately move hand while playing the A with the thumb, using thumb as a pivot, so 2nd finger is over C (i.e. thumb is tucked under hand).
  • The next hand position is 2 and 1 on C and D.  Nothing else about the hand is involved.  The hand needs to be in closed position, not extended.
  • Jump immediately to the next low note.

The problem for me is relaxing immediately after playing the low note.  The 2nd note is too loud fairly often, matching the low note rather than being a new, less prominent part of the accompaniment.

After some experimentation, I found a way to play the 1st measure of the last line without a gap in the sound:

  • Pedal on the downbeat of the bar.  This allows us to honor the 8th rest in the right hand.
  • Leave the pedal down through the first A in the right hand, until the 2nd A sounds.  Then lift the pedal.

I wanted to eliminate the blur and no breath that might occur.  After all, my singer needs a breath before the cadenza!  But a big gap didn’t work, either (i.e. when the pedal is released after the downbeat of bar 1, but before the 1st A of the right hand is heard).  My singer needs support, not silence.

Comments?  Suggestions?  Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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