Not Yet an Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music
I recently completed my examination for the distinguished title of Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music (which does absolutely nothing at all but hey, titles). Results will arrive in approximately five to fifty-five days.
Thus, the only thing I can do is expect the worst, pray for the best, and… record some music!
That’s right, the entirety of my recital, clocking in at exactly fifty minutes and fifty (one) seconds. Are you ready? You sure are.
Baroque Era, J.S. Bach (1735): Italienisches Konzert
I started out with this piece because it’s loud, there’s no pedals, and it gets you in the mood. What mood? I don’t know, I’m not that…
Bach’s second movement fares a little better than Beethoven’s, because the left hand should be soft while the right hand pierces your souls. Yeah, placing the camera next to the softer part was not a good idea. The third movement is a lot better, though, especially when you start thinking of the piano as a harpsichord. You guys know what harpsichords sound like, right? They’re not Bach (actually, they are).
20th Century, George Gershwin (1926): Three Preludes
I think few play jazzy songs like this during a Classical recital, so this may have been an interesting experience for the examiners. I definitely overjazzed the middle of the second prelude, and the final octaves in the Spanish prelude are anathema for me. This is the most recent piece in my recital, and also the most fun. Is there possibly a correlation? (Psst: the answer is no.)
Romantic Era, Frédéric Chopin (1833): Grande Valse Brillante in E-flat Major
The title says it’s a waltz, but my playing suggests otherwise. It’s far too heavy, and there’s not enough of the waltz feel… yet, my teacher tells me to layer more pedals onto it? I don’t really know what to do, so I just went with my flow. It’s quite difficult to achieve light grand piano pedalling on an upright piano, and I was inexperienced with grand pedalling during my recital, so… BLAME THE PIANO WHEN I FAIL
Classical Era, Ludwig van Beethoven (1804): Sonata No. 21 in C Major ‘Waldstein’
Without a doubt, the greatest piece I have ever attempted to learn. The majesty, the grandeur, the technical challenges… who needs Hanon when you have one of the greatest sonatas of all time? Scales, arpeggios, solid and broken chords, chromatic scales, octave passages, syncopation, legato thirds, hand crossing, tremolos, and of course, who can forget? Those goddamned trills!
The next piece starts out extremely soft. So soft that the camera adjusts its sound and amplifies it. Hear the static in the background? That’s because my camera is making everything louder because I’m playing ‘too soft’. Which directly defeats the point of playing softly. This camera wasn’t meant for recording sound…
One word: trills.
Modern Era (1906 – 1913), Sergei Prokofiev: Ten Pieces for Piano, No. 10 Scherzo
I think the Modern Era comes after the 20th Century, but I have no idea, since this was composed before Gershwin’s Three Preludes. ‘Scherzo’ in Italian means ‘joke’. Did I joke? I’m not joking. This scherzo seems like one of those absurdist straight/funny man acts to me: the beginning is all nonchalant and emotionless, but after the octaves’ entrance of the second melody, contrast takes precedence. Contrast? Liveliness? In my performance? Haha ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaa
Concert Étude (1851), Franz Liszt: Grandes Études de Paganini, No. 6
The requirements to become an Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music are five pieces from different eras and one concert étude. I think it was possible to choose two pieces by Prokofiev (20th Century/Modern Era) and three pieces by Chopin (Classical/Romantic Eras, Concert Étude) for your exam, but…
I had to end with this because there is no possible way I can play anything else after playing this. I don’t even know how I can still type after the torture my fingers received under the exacting eyes of Mr. Liszt
tl;dr: hope you liked the music. oh god goodbye