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Competition Repertoire - Beethoven 101 1st Mvmt vs 4th (Read 399 times)

Offline caevon

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Competition Repertoire - Beethoven 101 1st Mvmt vs 4th
« on: July 09, 2021, 06:22:00 PM »
Hey all,

I'm entering a competition in several months that requires either the first or last movement of a Classical sonata, and the piece I have in my repertoire is Beethoven's Opus 101 as of right now. I'm wondering if entering with the first movement versus the fourth will give me a disadvantage, as it is short and not as technically demanding as the fourth movement. However, both movements are pretty difficult, and I just don't want to put myself at a disadvantage by using the first movement. Which movement is better in this situation and will either one of them give me a disadvantage? This is also a major national competition in the US so I am looking for a lot of opinions :) Thank you!

Piano Street's Digital Sheet Music Library

Beethoven: Sonata 28, opus 101
piano sheet music of Sonata 28


Offline jacobson747

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Re: Competition Repertoire - Beethoven 101 1st Mvmt vs 4th
«Reply #1 on: July 09, 2021, 07:38:53 PM »
Easy IMO:  1st can be a little tough to play well, but 4th gives you a chance to show off.  Play 4th with a good, brisk tempo.  Show off your contrapuntal playing skills.

Offline jacobson747

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Re: Competition Repertoire - Beethoven 101 1st Mvmt vs 4th
«Reply #2 on: July 09, 2021, 08:40:05 PM »
Clarification: By asking for the 1st or last mvt, I believe they are looking for choices of substantial movements that are most often at a fast tempo (such as 1st or last mvt of Waldstein or Appassionata sonatas).  An example of a slower 1st mvt that is substantial and MAY be playable without disadvantage in the contest is the 1st mvt of Beethoven op. 26 (Andante con variazioni).  An extreme example:  Moonlight sonata.  I don’t care how well you play the 1st mvt, you are not going to place in the contest.  The 1st mvt of OP 101 is not substantial enough.   All IMO.

Offline lelle

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Re: Competition Repertoire - Beethoven 101 1st Mvmt vs 4th
«Reply #3 on: July 09, 2021, 09:57:41 PM »
Yeah, I think the implication when they request a first or last movement is a sonata Allegro movement, which the first movement tends to be in a typical sonata. (Last movement as well) Deviations such as the first movement of op 26 may work but the further you go the more you risk, I totally agree that the Moonlight sonata 1st movement is probably not what they are looking for.

Offline jacobson747

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Re: Competition Repertoire - Beethoven 101 1st Mvmt vs 4th
«Reply #4 on: July 10, 2021, 01:09:38 AM »
The op. 101 first mvt is technically in sonata allegro format, although it is unusual.  Tempo is “Allegretto ma non troppo”.  The exposition is not repeated.  Development starts measure 34, recap at measure 55, coda at about meas. 87.  As much as I love this beautiful piece, it is not substantial enough in terms of length, technical difficulty, etc. IMO. If you are trying to impress the judges, you should do the 4th movement.  I am assuming this is a contest for high school age (age 14+) or older performers.  You mentioned this is a major national competition.

Offline caevon

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Re: Competition Repertoire - Beethoven 101 1st Mvmt vs 4th
«Reply #5 on: July 10, 2021, 03:55:37 AM »
The op. 101 first mvt is technically in sonata allegro format, although it is unusual.  Tempo is “Allegretto ma non troppo”.  The exposition is not repeated.  Development starts measure 34, recap at measure 55, coda at about meas. 87.  As much as I love this beautiful piece, it is not substantial enough in terms of length, technical difficulty, etc. IMO. If you are trying to impress the judges, you should do the 4th movement.  I am assuming this is a contest for high school age (age 14+) or older performers.  You mentioned this is a major national competition.

Yes, National YoungArts :) pretty big competition for 10-12th graders or 15-18 year olds. I didn't make it last year but I want to give it another go this time around. Thank you for your advice! I spoke with a few mentors and teachers just today and they suggested the 4th movement as well.

Offline jacobson747

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Re: Competition Repertoire - Beethoven 101 1st Mvmt vs 4th
«Reply #6 on: July 10, 2021, 03:04:46 PM »
Yes, National YoungArts :) pretty big competition for 10-12th graders or 15-18 year olds. I didn't make it last year but I want to give it another go this time around. Thank you for your advice! I spoke with a few mentors and teachers just today and they suggested the 4th movement as well.

Wonderful.  :)  Good luck at the competition!

Offline pianophile

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Re: Competition Repertoire - Beethoven 101 1st Mvmt vs 4th
«Reply #7 on: August 25, 2021, 03:18:06 AM »
Many years ago I thought (how realistically or unrealistically is another topic) I had a shot at entering the Leeds competition. The application indicated maybe 20 sonatas to choose from for inclusion in the first round, which was to be paired with another work bringing the mini-recital to about 30 minutes, or maybe it was 30-35 minutes. Op. 101 was on the list, and being among my favorites I decided I would pair this with Chopin Scherzo #2.

The application's recording component required exactly this: movement 1 from the sonata, and the entire second piece.

So there you have it: The Leeds explicitly indicated I from op.101 was substantial enough, when paired with the Chopin, to demonstrate sufficient proficiency as to pre-screening, and get one invited to Leeds.

But the truth is I think this was a fluke or aberration they overlooked; like everybody else here, I think they intended to require a classical allegro movement, and probably would have agreed to IV from op.101 had I inquired. Although they're super-prestigious, I think they were just stating the requirements rather casually, probably assuming, to the extent that they thought about it, that the applicant would submit IV, after sensibly asking first.

But the sort of funny twist to this is that all that said, Leeds is the most aristocratic, anti-plebian competition of its kind, and they proudly emphasize their preference for refined substance and poetry over flash. So it would have been consistent for them to accept and honor a slow and subtle piece played very well. In a word, at Leeds the further you get from Rachmaninov (and op.101 I is about as far as you can get), the better; but most competitions are the reverse on this point.