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Topic: Recital Program  (Read 1967 times)

Offline _eroico

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Recital Program
on: September 05, 2021, 10:01:38 AM
Hey Guys and Girls,
Sooo i would love to give my first Recital next year, and still try to create an exciting program. I would love to hear some opinions on the ideas i already had and also maybe some recommendations for other pieces, either for the current recital Program or just to keep in mind for the next one.

Soo my idea was to just do two parts of 30-45 minutes with a 15 or 20 minute break between them. The Pieces i had in mind so far are:

First Part
Chopin Ballade 3 or Scherzo 3

Second Part
Maybe some classical Sonata or Variations (Beethoven, Haydn, Kalkbrenner, Czerny)
Alkan Festin d'Esope or Liszt (Dante, Norma, second ballade, second legend, Venezia e napoli, spanish rhapsody)

Possible Encores
De Falla ritual dance of fire
Some Waltz or sth

I dont know if Beethoven and Alkan/Liszt without break is a good idea, or what do you think? I also had the idea to play a set of Brahms piano pieces or sth instead (probably op. 76 or op. 118).

The first part is even trickier i think. Should i do a small opening like Holst Toccata, then a bigger work and then the chopin? Or first the bigger piece like a bach partita or Handel suite and then two Chopin ballades? I have no idea...

I hope you can help me a little bit with that, thanks for every helpful answer :)
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Offline nabs00

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Re: Recital Program
Reply #1 on: September 08, 2021, 04:44:13 PM
It would help to know if you are a college piano student or not as well as how long you want your recital to be. I personally wouldn't recommend a recital more than an hour of music if you're a student, because the most important thing is not making the recital hard on the audience.

If you're in college, I absolutely love opening a recital with the Haydn Variations in f minor (Hob. 17). It has slowly become my favorite keyboard work by him, and it goes really well (in my opinion, at least) when followed by a dramatic romantic work/Beethoven sonata. Just a disclaimer, the Haydn is more than just learning the right notes.

I would never start with something like Holst Toccata. It's not a bad piece, it's just vey short and modern, so just save it for the end or an encore. You want to start with your pieces that require the most focus from the audience to listen to.

For the sake of throwing an example program together, keep in mind this is what I would want to do so don't feel like I'm prescribing something for you lol (the key for me is contrast from piece-to-piece):

-Haydn f minor variations (or if you're dying to play a Bach Partita this is a good spot)

-Sonata (Beethoven or later imo for more contrast in style to your 1st piece). Also check out Grieg Sonata. Something around 18 min since Haydn var/bach partita/bach suites are around 15 min.

*10 min break*

-Chopin/something romantic and dramatic (you said you have some Chopin to play, so this would be awesome)

-Something fun & easy to listen to: check out Muczynski Desperate Measures, Kapustin Variations/his etudes 6-8 make a great set of stunning finishers.  To this day the most fun piece I've played on stage is Granados Allegro de Concierto. It may be one of the most comfortable and pianistic show pieces to play. Feels like a breeze and never leaves your fingers. That is a great finisher and seems like something you would like given the pieces you mention. A lot of my fellow college bros are picking it up.

but talk to your teacher first of all  8)

Offline nightwindsonata

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Re: Recital Program
Reply #2 on: September 24, 2021, 08:21:07 AM
Hi! I am also preparing a recital program, in almost the same boat actually.

There's a couple of ways you can go about this. I've seen a number of pianists build recitals around something external like a key (or related keys), a historical or geographical context, a composer lineage, or an overarching theme or topic (for instance: music and artworks). These can be tied together by a well-written and concise, yet helpful program that draws the audience into the story you want to tell.

However, if you are like me and are preparing a program that has a different piece from each period (because auditions are a thing :P ), I would generally order the pieces so as to give hills and valleys of excitement and flavor. You should know your pieces well enough to judge what effect they are going to have on the audience (as well as on you). I agree with the above that starting with a intense, short piece with a lot of movement like an Etude or a Toccata is not really the feeling you want to start with, as they are typically extremely taxing to play--I personally would put something like that at the end of the first half, where it gives the audience a fun treat and leaves them hungry for more. The other option is to place it at the very end, or as an encore, or else as part of a larger set.

For the meat of the recital, though, most classical sonatas fit very well into the earlier portion of the concert (exceptions being the large, epic ones such as Mozart's A minor, Beethoven's Appassionata, or Schubert's C minor). I like the suggestion about the Haydn Variations. Some of the gentler Chopin or Schubert pieces can also work here (imo, some of the Nocturnes, a set of Waltzes or Mazurkas, the 3rd Ballade), as long as they're not asking too much of the audience too soon. These pieces can definitely have high points and epic scopes, but the average length should be <10-15 minutes with many chances for the audience to breathe. Debussy can also work very well here.

In the second half, I like very much the idea of starting with something with a big, dramatic opening (the Liszt Dante or Norma, for example) and a huge scope. This piece needs to be very substantial, in the 20-30 minute range, and take the audience on an epic journey. This is what they came to hear. A concerto or a massive classical Sonata can also work here. If the epic warhorse itself is not quite long enough, then a short set of small but intriguing pieces (ie, Debussy Preludes or Images, or something of the like) does well to lead into your showpiece.

That's my two cents. My own recital is actually going to have a very different format, as it's built around each piece representing a different stage of life--the Prelude and Fugue in A-flat is like childhood, Beethoven's Op. 31 No. 3 is adolescence and coming-of-age, Florence Price's Clouds is like adulthood, Brahms' Op. 119 is like the golden and twilight years, and finally it ends in Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 5, the Funeral March. Not a super heavyweight program, but I feel it adapts to my own strengths. You should do the same--build your pieces around what YOU like to do! It's YOUR recital, they are coming to hear your best!

1st-year Master's Program:
- Ravel Piano Concerto
- Liszt Ricordanza
- Liszt 3 Liebestraums
- Liszt 3 Sonnets

- Rhapsody in Blue
- Dante Sonata
- Schubert Sonata D.780
- Mozart Piano Quartet in Gm

Offline anacrusis

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Re: Recital Program
Reply #3 on: October 03, 2021, 11:03:27 PM
I like your thoughtful approach to your programming, nightwindsonata! Lots of good insight.

I have liked building programs like a good meal sometimes. First there are some appetizers (some shorter and more easily digested pieces), then there's the main course (a bigger, heavier piece or two) and then dessert (some lighter pieces which may or may not include a showpiece or two to round it off and put the audience in a good mood)
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