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Grade 3-4 impressionist repertoire (Read 191 times)

Offline andrea94

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Grade 3-4 impressionist repertoire
« on: February 03, 2021, 09:46:19 PM »

I'm wondering if there's any impressionist repertoire than a grade 3-4 student could play?

Offline lelle

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Re: Grade 3-4 impressionist repertoire
«Reply #1 on: February 07, 2021, 08:10:07 PM »
The only thing that comes to mind is Saties 3 Gymnopedies. I think most impressionist music is a bit more tricky to play?

Offline j_tour

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Re: Grade 3-4 impressionist repertoire
«Reply #2 on: February 09, 2021, 05:22:23 AM »
I think most impressionist music is a bit more tricky to play?

I wouldn't say that at all.  Well, "tricky," yeah, I'd agree with that, but not out of reach.  At the very least some (or perhaps all!) of the Children's Corner suite of Debussy can be handled with only modest technique.  Some are trickier than others, but definitely within reach.  Besides, everyone likes a little "Golliwog's Cakewalk," I'd think! 

Just to highlight, because it's called Children's Corner does not indicate these are "pieces for children":  if you played a short recital with that suite alone, no one would call that a little kid performance.  It's entirely within your reach as an intermediate player, but you will have to make many decisions, artistic and mechanically.  It's a collection of pieces entirely meant to be masterfully performed by a very good pianist.  Not a child.

There's a nice Debussy piece called "Feuille d'album" (I think that's the title) which is brief and can be played.

As well as all kinds of things from both books of the Préludes...the slower pieces, in general, are not really great technical affairs, although they require a good amount of artistry.  And there are some others, like "La sérénade interrompue" or "Minstrels" which two could probably be handled with a bit of effort (I'd say those are one step up above the very slow pieces, but not more than one step above in pure mechanics).

Yeah, Debussy wrote a great many works which require quite a bit of flashy technique, but there's much that can be handled, I would say, by an intermediate player, at least with some effort and likely an affinity for the music in the first place.  I don't want to mention the (infamous) Clair de lune:  that's not a difficult piece, and you could play that.  But the only reason I mention is that the Suite it's from, the Bergamesque, the other pieces are not at all simple.  I don't much care for singling out that one piece from the rest.

So, intermediate level, you can certainly play the whole Children's Corner suite, and many items from the préludes and some other bits here and there.  The préludes were not designed to be played necessarily from front to back, so I'm more comfortable recommending those in isolation.

I like his études quite a bit, but those are not easy, not played well:  at least a few steps up in difficulty, and I haven't put in the time to master them.  But something to keep in mind if you decide to specialize in music of that time period and rough style.

I really don't know anything about Ravel, so I couldn't identify other "impressionist" works as easily.  One could probably go so far as to call some of the later préludes of Scriabin a kind of impressionism, of sorts — maybe (!) — and many of those are by no means hyper-technical.  There's one from sort of middle-late opus....Op. 51 no. 2....that has the main performance indication "Lugubre."  That's pretty impressionist-ish, and not difficult.

You might even call the 1st prélude of Chopin in C, from Op. 28 a sort of proto-impressionist work.  It's not really super-difficult, but that might be a bit of a reach for you, in addition to it being tricky to sight read at full speed and energy.  I bet you could play it, though, if you want to stretch yourself a tiny bit.

If anything, in quite a bit of Debussy (not everything, but often enough) the one that might mess you up is using the sostenuto pedal.  But you can get around that as well, sort of, if you're playing an upright, for example, with a little trickery or legerdemain.  I use a digital stage piano for all my acoustic piano needs, and I've never got around to buying a sost. pedal, if this older Yamaha even supports it...it's fine, not something to stress over.

I don't recommend the Alfred published editions:  I find them hard to read for Debussy (well, the ones I've seen). 

I do use the Henle editions for Debussy.  I know the originals are Durand &cie, but since Debussy is a relatively recent composer, mostly, I don't think there's a question of editorial content.  Just whatever's easiest to read.

My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.