On Sunday, June 9 at Harcourt United Church, students took part in the 2019 Spring Recital. Once again audience members were treated to a variety of styles and talents. The recital kicked off with CPE Bach’s blisteringly fast Solfeggio followed by a piano arrangement of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Performers took the audience on a musical safari from a tropical forest with a piece for piano and hand drum, to the Spanish plains, and even a visit to Mars! The audience enjoyed some familiar favourites like Brahms’ Lullaby and O Suzanna both arranged as duets. The hauntingly beautiful Penn Ar Lann by Yann Tiersen left the audience completely spellbound. Other highlights included the mighty Grande Valse Brillante by Chopin and a fantastic four hand arrangement of Frederic Handel’s Arrival of the Queen of Sheba. A big congratulations to all who took part! Have a safe and happy summer holidays!
Today I was feeling kinda down so I thought I’d pour my feelings into some composition. I wrote this little lament. It turned out to be a little study in counterpoint. Although I’m getting more confident in my harmony skills, counterpoint is another ballgame, one which I plan on addressing after I’m finished working through all the RCM books. Nonetheless, it was fun to use this opportunity to try writing another piece. It’s written in four voices and I keep repeating the 8 measure ditty layering one voice at a time.
My experiments in the realm of harmony continue. Currently I’m about half way through the RCM 10 Harmony book at we’ve just finished the passage on V9s and 13s. To me these chords immediately make me recall Chopin, as if they were his musical fingerprint. I thought I’d take another stab at composing something simple. My tendency is often to begin with simple intentions but end up with a piece 10 pages long and hard for anyone to play. This time I restricted myself to 16 measures. I thought I’d try to write another minuet, this time in the minor mode but by the time I tried it out at the keyboard I realized it was much more like a waltz. I almost achieved my first goal as it ended up being 21 measures. It turned out a tad more difficult than I wanted it to be but oh well. I’d say it’s more like grade 3 or probably 4 RCM. Still, I’m happy with the result. It reminds me a bit of Chopin combined with some Danny Elfman. What does it remind you of?
I’ve been working my way through the RCM Harmony books. Much of the information is review but some of it is also new; I never had this amount of time to study theory in depth when I was a busy undergrad many years ago. After all this theory I thought why not try and apply it? So I sketched up this little minuet and was pleased with myself for composing something that at least resembles one of the many minuets I’ve heard or played throughout my life written by those old dead white guys.
Here’s another selection from the movie Pride and Prejudice soundtrack by Dario Marianelli. I simply love the eerie yet joyful vibe of this piece. Short yet, but packed with a few technical challenges for the player, most notably the ever changing nuances of the melody and accompaniment. It might sound repetitive but there is actually a fair bit of variation going on with each statement of the theme, meaning that the fingering must adapt quickly. It took me a while to get the hang of. Enjoy!
This coming weekend I’m playing piano for a friend’s wedding. His bride asked me to play music from the film Pride and Prejudice. Here’s the first selection entitled ‘Dawn’. It’s reminds me a lot of Beethoven’s piano concertos; economical yet incredibly sensitive in its harmonies. I hope they will like it!
Photography has continued to be a stimulating and challenging hobby this year. It’s nice to indulge in something that isn’t music as much as I like it. I’m realizing that this is may become a tradition. I’ve taken a very select group of photos and put them together as a slide show accompanied by the aria and first variation of the Goldbergs which I recorded in June.
This year has been a very positive one for me. My studio has been thriving. We had our first performance in a new space because there are just too many of us! I wish everyone a safe and happy new year!