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Murray Perahia’s Major Transfer

Perahia releases his first album for Deutsche Grammophon presenting Bach’ French Suites. He sees the French Suites as “Bach on the highest level”, adding, “I don’t think Bach wrote one note that didn’t have wider meanings and that wasn’t to be tackled with all one’s heart and soul.” Read more >>

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Author Topic: Request for recommendations in FRSM exam (UK)  (Read 894 times)
symphonicdance
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« on: June 11, 2016, 06:10:59 PM »

I am planning to take the Fellowship of Royal School of Music (FRSM) diploma exam (UK) in 2017.

Previously I passed the Fellowship of Trinity College London (FTCL) diploma exam (UK) by self-learning with the following programme:
(i) J.S. Bach : Partita No. 6 in E minor, BWV830
(ii) Beethoven : Piano Sonata No. 31 in A flat major, Op. 110
My total playing time was about 43.5 minutes (within the requirement of 42 – 48 minutes), with long repeats being cut.

FRSM exam requires a playing time of 50 minutes +/- 5 minutes. I am thinking to re-use either one or both the aforesaid works. As such, I need to find one or two additional pieces to make up the required total playing time. For the time being, I have come up with the following "quicker" options:
(A) Bach Partita #6 + Beethoven PS #31 + Bach-d’Albert Passacaglia
(B) Bach Partita #6 + Bach-Busoni Chaconne + Bach-d’Albert Passacaglia
(C) Beethoven PS #31 + Bach-Busoni Chaconne + Bach-d’Albert Passacaglia
(D) Bach Partita #6 + Prokofiev PS #9
(E) Beethoven PS #31 + Prokofiev PS #9

All the above-mentioned works are on both FRSM and FTCL syllabus, except Bach-d’Albert Passacaglia. Both FRSM and FTCL exams do not require a balanced program (although candidates can choose to do so). Specialisation is allowed. Besides playing the programme, candidates of FRSM exam also need to take Viva Voce (or Q&A) and sight-reading. The Viva Voce section is about music knowledge (incl. theories, analyses, composers, works, music instrument, etc.), particularly related to the works in the exam programme.

If the candidate can play well in all options (yes, bold assumption!), which option will sound more appealing to you as an examiner (who in turn is also an audience)?

Any good reference books or DVDs (such as on Bach, baroque, Beethoven piano sonatas, piano transcriptions, Prokofiev, etc.) you will recommend for the candidate to prepare for Viva Voce?

Any tips if you have taken the FRSM before?

Many Thanks!
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adodd81802
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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2016, 01:15:34 PM »

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symphonicdance
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« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2016, 02:10:12 PM »

Yes, self-learning to pass FTCL.  And, I want to take FRSM by self-learning:  not only to re-discover the learned pieces, but also to learn and perfect new exam piece(s) and increase my music theory and music knowledge when preparing for the viva voce section.
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danpiano37
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« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2017, 07:18:29 AM »

Hey Symphonicdance, how did you go with your FRSM?

I passed my FTCL last year and have decided to keep the momentum going by doing FRSM with the following programme:

Bach-Busoni Chaconne in D minor
Rachmaninoff Etudes op 33 (complete)
Scriabin Sonata no 9 (Black Mass)

It's not really a specialist programme (unless you count the two Russian composers from the 20th century) but one I thought would keep me interested for the 11 or so months or preparation and also one that is hopefully enjoyable and interesting for the examiners!

As far as reference material goes, I know that Andras Schiff has don a bunch of talks on the Beethoven sonatas, which you can find on youtube, he's also put out a DVD with some Bach workshops. The best analysis of the Beethoven Sonatas (for the Viva Voce) I've come across is by Sir Donald Tovey, I used to have them all but they've been missplaced (or maybe lent out) at some stage. It would probably be a good idea to go through the works and do your own analysis so you can feel like you have a thorough understanding of the pieces

Hope that's a help.

Also, why no teacher? If you find a supportive one it can be a huge help  Smiley

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fullofcandies
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« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2017, 02:06:34 AM »

Hi! I was just wondering, how do you prepare these diploma exams without any help of teachers? Could you share some tips? Smiley
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symphonicdance
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« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2017, 04:22:44 AM »

Too busy nowadays, I can’t visit this forum as frequent as before, and so please forgive me for my late replies. 

Hey Symphonicdance, how did you go with your FRSM?

I passed my FTCL last year and have decided to keep the momentum going by doing FRSM with the following programme:

Bach-Busoni Chaconne in D minor
Rachmaninoff Etudes op 33 (complete)
Scriabin Sonata no 9 (Black Mass)

It's not really a specialist programme (unless you count the two Russian composers from the 20th century) but one I thought would keep me interested for the 11 or so months or preparation and also one that is hopefully enjoyable and interesting for the examiners!

As far as reference material goes, I know that Andras Schiff has don a bunch of talks on the Beethoven sonatas, which you can find on youtube, he's also put out a DVD with some Bach workshops. The best analysis of the Beethoven Sonatas (for the Viva Voce) I've come across is by Sir Donald Tovey, I used to have them all but they've been missplaced (or maybe lent out) at some stage. It would probably be a good idea to go through the works and do your own analysis so you can feel like you have a thorough understanding of the pieces

Hope that's a help.

Also, why no teacher? If you find a supportive one it can be a huge help  Smiley


I am planning to go for a “specialized” program of Bach’s original & transcribed works.  However, I am struggling on the exact topic, the direction of research for the submission paper.  Regarding reference materials (books & CDs), I am fortunate enough to be able to find some at public and university libraries.  Of the three works to be played, I am basically left with Chaconne which I am just 60-70% done.  Busy lately, and hence, insufficient time to practice as much as I supposedly needed.  Fortunately, no pressure for me to K.O. the FRSM diploma ASAP.

Your FRSM programme appears to be fairly challenging, both musically and technically.  Good luck!  Just curious, I wonder how fast you will play the Russian works.  If my memory serves me correctly, only Chaconne is on the syllabus, and according to exam guidelines and regulations, “on syllabus work(s)” must account for at least 1/3 of the total playing time, or put in the other way to interpret, “own choice(s)” must not account for more than 2/3 of the total playing time.

Hi! I was just wondering, how do you prepare these diploma exams without any help of teachers? Could you share some tips? Smiley

1) Luck, luck and luck!
2) Know his/her own strengths and weaknesses, and carefully select the appropriate works from the syllabus.
3) Enough time to practice.
4) Sufficient in-depth research (e.g. as mentioned by danpiano37, “A Companion to Beethoven’s Pianoforte Sonatas” by Donald Francis Tovey is marvelous for someone who will pick a Beethoven sonata for the exam).
5a) Attend master classes, even as an audience (some universities and organizations offer free master classes for public, and the coaches are first class pianists / professors).
5b) Watch online master classes / DVDs.
6) Listen to MP3 / CD / smart/i-phone of the exam works whenever possible (e.g. taking public transportation).
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danpiano37
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« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2017, 09:54:16 AM »

Ah yep you're right symphonicdance. I had that thought in the back of my mind but then your comment confirmed it. The Rach Etudes will be around 25 mins, the chaconne around 16, and the Scriabin was around 8 or 9mins, which made me slightly overtime for own choice. So I've dropped the Scriabin and will play Babajanyan's Poem in C#minor (just under 6 mins). Which means I'll be 47 mins of which 16 will be the Chaconne. Aiming for next June. Hope your prep's going well!
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