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Belated London Premiere for Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel on International Women’s Day

As part of its special day of programming for International Women’s Day, BBC Radio 3 broadcasted a live performance of the Easter Sonata, a major piano work which until recently had been attributed to Felix Mendelssohn, but is now proved to be the work of his sister Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel. Read more >>

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Author Topic: Beethoven's Moonlight  (Read 1595 times)
johnjwong
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« on: July 01, 2004, 05:55:40 AM »

In Canada, Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata is in Grade 5.  But I have noticed that there is a very big difference between each individual movements.  In the 3rd movement, the piece goes very fast and I believe it is over Grade 5.  Can someone tell me what grade should moonlight be for the 3rd movement?
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piano sheet music of Sonata 14 (Moonlight)
maxy
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« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2004, 06:20:40 AM »

Grade... how about over grade 10?
That sounds fair enough Grin
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faulty_damper
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« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2004, 02:52:49 PM »

What's up with all this crap about grade?  You pass the 8th ABRSM exam and you are suddenly the next Liszt?  You suddenly stop learning new repetory and tecniques?  You are just that good because a piece of paper says you passed the last exam in the system designed for the sole purpose of making money for the test givers. Roll Eyes

Another institutional failure is what the ABRSM and other systems are.  It pisses me off when students pass the 8th grade exam and they think they are very good pianists.  But what is worse is when they think that is all learning how to play the piano is all about - tests.  But even worse, still, parents who think that's what learning how to play the piano is all about! Angry  This so *** makes me mad when I think of all the consequences that occurs because of this.  I've witnessed many of them, too. :-/

So sad.
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Motrax
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« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2004, 03:39:39 AM »

To answer your question, I'd put it at grade 9. This is a purely blind number, as I don't know what pieces are where in this grading system, but I'm guessing that 9 is appropriate. It isn't as horribly difficult as some people make it out to be, technically. It's challenge lies in keeping up concentration and endurance for 7-8 long minutes of repeating the same themes 3-5 times in a row.
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"I always make sure that the lid over the keyboard is open before I start to play." --  Artur Schnabel, after being asked for the secret of piano playing.
johnjwong
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« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2004, 04:33:03 PM »

Quote
To answer your question, I'd put it at grade 9. This is a purely blind number, as I don't know what pieces are where in this grading system, but I'm guessing that 9 is appropriate. It isn't as horribly difficult as some people make it out to be, technically. It's challenge lies in keeping up concentration and endurance for 7-8 long minutes of repeating the same themes 3-5 times in a row.


How is it comparing with Fantasia Impromptu or Liszt's La Campanella?
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Spatula
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« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2004, 04:37:31 PM »

Quote
In Canada, Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata is in Grade 5.  But I have noticed that there is a very big difference between each individual movements.  In the 3rd movement, the piece goes very fast and I believe it is over Grade 5.  Can someone tell me what grade should moonlight be for the 3rd movement?


For the Royal Conservatory of Music standards set in Toronto, Canada.  The 3rd movement is considered ARCT level (one higher than gr 10).  However you should be cautioned as to this piece is marked much more with scrutiny than perhaps his tempest sonata due to the fact that the first two movements are at a lower level.
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Motrax
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« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2004, 06:12:39 PM »

I probably spent more time figuring out how to properly play the 1-5 left hand accompanament without twisting my muscles all out of shape than I did actually learning to play the notes themselves correctly. I started the piece much too early for what's physically appropriate - the fact that my hand span probably grew an extra inch between when I started and when I performed it added to the difficulty.

Stunning as this may sound to some of you, I've never heard La Campanella.  Shocked

Although I haven't played the fantasy-impromptu, I've seen enough others play it to make some sort of educated comparison between that and the Moonlight. The challenges these pieces provide are rather different. I personally would find the Moonlight more difficult, but it's probably different depending on your skill level and simple anatomy.

It is probably more challenging to be accurate with each note in the Impromptu. Furthermore, I would argue that accuracy and clarity is more important in the Impromptu. In the Moonlight, missing a note here or there during the arpeggio runs can be swallowed up with some quick pedalling, and one still gets the full effect of the chord outlined by the arpeggios. In the Impromptu, missing a note can be disastrous because you don't outline a single rigid chord - there are many off-key notes and chromaticisms which, if blurred, can really make things sound nasty.

Voicing is much more complex in the Impromptu as well. The left hand is more than just an accompanament - it is a melody which must be presented as clearly as the right hand melodies. This seems more important in the fast parts of the piece - the slow parts seem only to have one voice (though this could just be because the recording I'm listening to doesn't present other voices where they should exist).

Now, where endurance is concerned, the Impromptu pales in comparison to the Moonlight. Chopin's work has a few slow sections in between short burts of the fast parts, giving you time to recuperate if you need it. The longest rest breaks you get in the Moonlight are a few chords signifying the end of sections. Furthermore, the abundance of black-key arpeggios interspersed with less white keys makes it particularly more tiring than just "anything fast." Probably it's much easier if you have larger hands than myself, but a few years ago I held my wrists in pain for a few minutes every time I played the third movement Prestissimo.

Lastly, the Impromptu provides a good deal more variety, which is actually rather important in my opinion. The number of times I've zoned out during the third movement are countless - it's much too easy to just put your hands on auto-pilot and wonder about what's for dinner or what you get on yesterday's math test. There is very little musical complexity as far as extra voices or large dinamic shifts are concerned, so it requires all the concentration you can muster not to lose your concentration in the first place. I don't believe I've ever played the third movement to my own total satisfaction, and this is probably the biggest reason.

Hmm, that was a lot longer than I thought it would be. Thanks for being patient and reading through my spiel.  Smiley
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"I always make sure that the lid over the keyboard is open before I start to play." --  Artur Schnabel, after being asked for the secret of piano playing.
benbenben9752
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« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2004, 10:15:28 AM »

whats with all these grades and like ABRSM exams and stuff who cares its a freaking exam u passed it woohoo u get jack squat how about instead of preparing for an exam u learn another piece to make money with ... ... ... no that would make sense i take taht idea back
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