Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Winterreigen - A Winter Collection Piano Concert

Welcome welcome welcome to my second online piano concert! The truth is that I actually recorded this set in February, but found out that there was something wrong with my microphone and nothing recorded!! Unfortunately that was the day before my piano was moved to another location leaving me pianoless (which is like losing a limb to a pianist!!!) Due to some crazy relocation circumstances, I have been without a piano for quite some time until now!! So I'm back and ready to get this under way!!! This was suppose to be a winter-themed concert with selections from the Winterreigen suite by Ernst von Dohnányi, but now it's May and it doesn't feel like winter here! But I figure if anything, the elves and polar bears up in the North Pole still think it's winter!! These pieces are short and simple so it's not a crazy concert by any means. But the most important thing I wanted to do with this concert is play pieces that are hardly played or even known! I did a search on youtube just to make sure there were no recordings already! I hope everyone enjoys!!! Btw... the next concert WILL be out of this world knock your face off crazy so stay tuned!!!

I. Widmung
Widmung is the first in the set of ten and serves as a quick introduction. The left hand is quick with shadowed arppegiated chords overlayed by a slow and quaint melody coming from the right hand. The interesting thing with Dohnányi is how he uses minor chord changes to build up a tonal progression. I think this is very similar to a lot of Rachmaninoff's piano pieces sans the difficulty and craziness!!

II. Marsch der Lustigen Brüder
The second piece of the set is a definite march! With a steady beat and the constant 8th-16th note pattern, it feels like you are watching a militant parade marching down the streets of a small German town. True to the composing style of a march, there is a quiet and melodic section in the middle, much like a trio. I took the liberty of adding a lot of color to this part since it was a "break" from the marching. A lot of heavy yet colorful chords, especially toward the end, and definitely a lot of fun to play!

IX. Morgengrauen
The second to the last piece in the set is an immediate switch to a somber and reflective tone. Throughout the piece is a constant pattern of octaves with the same rhythm. It makes me think of waking up on a rainy day to the sounds of an old church bell in the distance. I feel like this piece of the set symbolized the ending of something... maybe someone as they become close to death, or possibly the ending of a cold and dreary winter. Either way, the piece has a small yet reflective climax, followed by the repeating the somber octaves, but then ends on a major chord. If Ernst ended the set with this, it would leave you with the sense of a lack of closure. I think that's why the last piece starts on the same chord. I wanted to separate these two videos for youtube, but in a live concert, I think they belong together with no pause. Feel free to listen to the last piece directly after this to see if you can hear the connection!

X. Postludium
I LOVE this piece for so many reasons! I remember playing this as a kid and thinking how much I liked it, but wished it was longer. Little did I know that later on I would find the entire set of pieces that belong with Postludium. The piece previous to Postludium ends on a G major chord. Postludium begins on a G suspended 4 chord which doesn't resolve until eight measures into the song. This Ernst guy is pretty rad for that! Even though this is a short piece around two minutes, it feels like this constant build up to the climax which is a grand reprise of the first theme. It ends with three chords and in the score Ernst wrote A-d-e (one letter per chord) meaning farewell in German. What a perfect way to end this awesome set of ten pieces - Ernst is seriously the man!!!

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