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Assigned Mendelssohn's Variations Serieuses Op.54 (Read 6020 times)

Offline phil13

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Assigned Mendelssohn's Variations Serieuses Op.54
« on: April 13, 2007, 03:56:49 AM »
My teacher surprised me completely with this recommendation. I'm absolutely thrilled to be playing this masterpiece, and I've heard it's a very rewarding work.

I threw the piece into the search function and, surprisingly, not a whole lot of useful material came up. So, is there anything I should know about these? Any pitfalls I should look out for? Any practicing tips? Anything, really, right down to your own opinion of the work.  ;D ;D ;D

Phil

piano sheet music of Variations SÚrieuses


Offline cmg

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Re: Assigned Mendelssohn's Variations Serieuses Op.54
«Reply #1 on: April 14, 2007, 02:39:32 PM »
The very first Bachian variations, I think, are the hardest.  From there on out, it gets more showy, but more pianistic.  Wonderful piece.  Numerous technical/musical problems are posed here.  You master this piece and you're on your way!  whoosh!!

Long live Mendelssohn!!
Current repertoire:  "Come to Jesus" (in whole-notes)

Offline phil13

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Re: Assigned Mendelssohn's Variations Serieuses Op.54
«Reply #2 on: April 15, 2007, 03:25:04 PM »
Thanks Cmg.

Come on, people. There's got to be at least a few more of the 88 who already read this...

Also, in addition to the questions above, which edition of this work should I buy?

Phil

Offline elevateme_returns

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Re: Assigned Mendelssohn's Variations Serieuses Op.54
«Reply #3 on: April 15, 2007, 04:35:19 PM »
is there a henle edition? how long does the piece last?
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Offline frederic chopin

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Re: Assigned Mendelssohn's Variations Serieuses Op.54
«Reply #4 on: April 15, 2007, 04:37:36 PM »
Yes, there is a Henle edition.

http://www.henle.com/index.cfm?open=02
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Offline phil13

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Re: Assigned Mendelssohn's Variations Serieuses Op.54
«Reply #5 on: April 15, 2007, 05:00:59 PM »
is there a henle edition? how long does the piece last?

Typically, 11-13 minutes, I think.

Phil

Offline chicoboli

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Re: Assigned Mendelssohn's Variations Serieuses Op.54
«Reply #6 on: April 15, 2007, 06:26:04 PM »
 :P  they are good piece study slow very slow and you will happy

Offline phil39

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Re: Assigned Mendelssohn's Variations Serieuses Op.54
«Reply #7 on: April 16, 2007, 02:16:20 AM »
i don't know it but i know of it. it features very highly in the associated boards diploma repertoire lists, definately at LRSM level, maybe even FRSM. so, as someone said, if you can play this you are definately on your way!

Offline amanfang

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Re: Assigned Mendelssohn's Variations Serieuses Op.54
«Reply #8 on: April 16, 2007, 02:21:34 AM »
I have found that for the most part it lies under my fingers pretty well.  For me, Var. 13 was the worst. 

On Var 12, it took me awhile to figure out how to pedal it.  Banowetz says to pedal the first four 32nd notes of each beat.  That suggestion worked quite well.  This is a favorite piece of mine.  It is a thrill to play!
When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there's no end to what you can't do.

Offline jakev2.0

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Re: Assigned Mendelssohn's Variations Serieuses Op.54
«Reply #9 on: April 17, 2007, 04:12:12 AM »
I'm working on this piece too, and am loving it every time I practice. Really gorgeous and rewarding piece.

It's true that the theme and Variations 1 and 2 are a bit awkward. Voicing is also a challenge. The best thing is just to get it into your hands through slow practice.

Variation 4 and 8/9 are the trickiest I've encountered so far. If you have trouble with 4, I recommend obviously playing hands separately, slow, and pianissimo - even with hands together again.

Haven't taken a look at the coda, but all of the others do indeed seem quite pianistic.

PS: check out Horowitz's performance of this work...it'll give you an adrenaline surge.

Offline imbetter

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Re: Assigned Mendelssohn's Variations Serieuses Op.54
«Reply #10 on: April 17, 2007, 12:59:20 PM »
wonderful piece, one of the few Mendelssohn I like. I hope to learn it someday, although you're right it is very difficult. If it was beyond your capability I'm sure your teacher wouldn't have assigned it to you. What I would suggest is to take your teachers advice along the way and take your time learning it, because believe me, you'll need it.

Good luck 8)
"My advice to young musicians: Quit music! There is no choice. It has to be a calling, and even if it is and you think there's a choice, there is no choice"-Vladimir Feltsman

Offline frederic chopin

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Re: Assigned Mendelssohn's Variations Serieuses Op.54
«Reply #11 on: April 17, 2007, 01:13:14 PM »
I played this work a long time ago and really enjoyed it. It is such a magnificent piece. I find the last few variations most enjoyable and exciting! I hope you enjoy learning this.
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Offline cygnusdei

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Re: Assigned Mendelssohn's Variations Serieuses Op.54
«Reply #12 on: April 17, 2007, 10:02:38 PM »
This is a great piece but rather overplayed (meaning I've heard many pianists don't do it justice).  If I had one advice it would be use no pedal or very sparingly. The music must come forth from your fingerwork.

Offline prongated

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Re: Assigned Mendelssohn's Variations Serieuses Op.54
«Reply #13 on: April 17, 2007, 10:34:40 PM »
...POST THE D MAJOR CHORALE SOON!

Offline dnephi

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Re: Assigned Mendelssohn's Variations Serieuses Op.54
«Reply #14 on: April 18, 2007, 12:27:19 AM »
The Variation 14 is, I think, the loveliest thing Mendelssohn ever penned.

Ernest Hutcheson (long deceased) agrees with me.

:).  Great piece.  Var 12 is a lot like March Wind.

P.S.: You are one lucky dog.  And you have my envy.

P.P.S.: Be able to play it without pedal, but still use it.  Make the fingers do their work, and then color with the pedal.  That's a personal motto I gained from Liszt.
For us musicians, the music of Beethoven is the pillar of fire and cloud of mist which guided the Israelites through the desert.  (Roughly quoted, Franz Liszt.)

Offline phil13

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Re: Assigned Mendelssohn's Variations Serieuses Op.54
«Reply #15 on: April 18, 2007, 12:31:36 AM »
The Variation 14 is, I think, the loveliest thing Mendelssohn ever penned.

Ernest Hutcheson (long deceased) agrees with me.

:).  Great piece.  Var 12 is a lot like March Wind.

Variation 14 is the major one, right? I love that section.

I remember chatting w/ you about that piece. This looks much worse, though. Much of March Wind requires no shifting.

Phil

Offline dnephi

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Re: Assigned Mendelssohn's Variations Serieuses Op.54
«Reply #16 on: April 18, 2007, 12:33:49 AM »
Maybe less, but it's similar, as is the Inferno portion of the Dante Sonata. 

Yes, 14 is the D Major section.  I have the Paderewski edition (1925 print, baby!) and he proposes some tasteful textual ammendations.  I'll find those and bring them up for you.

P.S. read my P.S. and P.P.S. on the above posts ;).
For us musicians, the music of Beethoven is the pillar of fire and cloud of mist which guided the Israelites through the desert.  (Roughly quoted, Franz Liszt.)

Offline onction_terrible

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Re: Assigned Mendelssohn's Variations Serieuses Op.54
«Reply #17 on: April 18, 2007, 01:13:18 AM »
The Variations SÚrieuses are definitely one of Mendelssohn's best and most enjoyable works. However, I cannot offer you anything as far as advice. I can offer you my best wishes in learning this piece though. Good luck!

Offline classical pianist

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Re: Assigned Mendelssohn's Variations Serieuses Op.54
«Reply #18 on: April 18, 2007, 04:36:00 PM »
You need to work a lot on those polyphonies in the first variations...

In those later variations you the pitfalls are dynamics... if you don't respect mendelssohn's dynamics, you'll find it very difficult to execute each technique.

Offline phil13

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Re: Assigned Mendelssohn's Variations Serieuses Op.54
«Reply #19 on: April 26, 2007, 04:12:21 PM »
I've ordered the Henle edition, and it should be arriving sometime soon.

In the meantime, I've talked with my teacher about the piece, and he told me that, although the variations do get more and more pianistic, the hardest variation is actually in the middle- Variation 13.

He showed me two ways to execute the staccato 32nd notes- one is through wrist motion and the other through finger motion. How would one go about learning this passage? Does the type of motion you use depend on the tempo you take it at?

Also, more comments and suggestions are, as always, welcome.

Phil

Offline frederic chopin

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Re: Assigned Mendelssohn's Variations Serieuses Op.54
«Reply #20 on: April 26, 2007, 05:16:03 PM »
Yes, Variation 13 is the most difficult in my view as well.

It is easy to get too involved with the RH here - make sure that you don't neglect the LH which is actually the more important part.
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Offline classical pianist

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Re: Assigned Mendelssohn's Variations Serieuses Op.54
«Reply #21 on: April 28, 2007, 05:44:00 PM »
Variation 13 RH is like flying staccato. You should not practise staccato but, instead, practise legato assai and pianissimo with exaggerated phrasing (like waves)

then later you can try to play the same way as you did on legato but you should play only on the surface of the keys.. then here comes the flying staccato.


Offline amanfang

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Re: Assigned Mendelssohn's Variations Serieuses Op.54
«Reply #22 on: May 12, 2007, 07:08:12 PM »
I enjoy both Perahiah's recording of this, as well as Bolet's.  The recording I heard of Bolet was at a live recital at IU (I think from the 50's).  At the very end on the long diminished arpeggio, he keeps the double notes all the way until the end, which is really very thrilling.  I love it.  Mentioned it to a teacher who was horrified at the thought of "adulterating" the music.  I thought I might do it anyway.  Hopefully he won't be on my exam committee.   ;)
When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there's no end to what you can't do.