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Topic: A Year on One Composer  (Read 2028 times)

Offline brogers70

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A Year on One Composer
on: November 18, 2021, 08:00:56 PM
Has anybody here experimented with devoting a full year to just one composer? This is not something I'd do if I were just beginning, but I've played for 20+ years (ages 40 to 60 some) and I've played a good variety of things from Byrd, through the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and early 20th century. I usually work in parallel on repertoire from Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and post-Romantic periods, because I like the variety and there's a kind of cross-fertilization between the styles. Also I like to try to give a house concert once a year and include a variety of styles so the listeners don't get bored.

Still...sometimes I feel really tempted to take a year and make it "the year of Bach" or "the year of Brahms," and work only on repertoire from a single composer, combined with listening to a lot of their music that's not for solo piano, and reading their biography. I'd still keep up the usual technical exercises and etudes, but otherwise just stick to the one composer.

Has anyone here done that, and if so, how did you find it compared to a more diversified approach? I'm not planning on doing it year after year, just wondering about giving it a go for a year or two for a composer or two.
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Offline lelle

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Re: A Year on One Composer
Reply #1 on: November 18, 2021, 09:23:59 PM
I don't know if I could do that... there is so much music I like from different composers that I wouldn't be happy just devoting myself to one composer. Plus, I don't think there's any composer where I like everything they've written. What do you feel would be the benefits of playing just one composer for a year?

Offline brogers70

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Re: A Year on One Composer
Reply #2 on: November 18, 2021, 10:15:10 PM
The positives I think would be getting a deep familiarity with their style, maybe somewhat more ease in the technical aspects, since composers do tend to often present a similar set of difficulties. The negatives, would be,a s you say, maybe getting tired of the same composer, and maybe boring the friends who listen to me play. I'm still not sure, but then, I could always drop it if I found the negatives outweigh the positives. Mostly I'm asking to see if anyone has done something like that and how they found it.

Offline gipsypiano

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Re: A Year on One Composer
Reply #3 on: December 03, 2021, 09:10:59 AM
Its a good idea to commit yourself for a year with one thing.
Unfortunately many (not all) well known and now dead artists and also composers
where more or less big perverts in their private life and therefore its not recommended to connect too much to this, better you try to connect yourself with great living musicians who have a private life that is clean and nothing to hide in it.
That gives you infinitely more than connecting to a dead pervert even if everybody says he was a great or the greatest anything in music.
Connecting to dead people is a very dangerous thing to do anyways and there are better composers out there than any of the well known historical ones.
Looking in other cultures for great musicians to connect can help, to start with gipsy culture musicians in front of your own house door can bee infinitely better than attracting the ghosts of dead and often mentally ill/bad but well known people from the past.

Offline roncesvalles

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Re: A Year on One Composer
Reply #4 on: December 03, 2021, 01:11:35 PM
Gipsypiano, that you would equate mental illness with being "bad" or unworthy of study or appreciation is disturbing to me.  Likewise for "perverts," a term that can suggest a lot of things but which is essentially a normative term that has historically and even presently been used to marginalize and ostracize many people (if not far worse actions).

Offline gipsypiano

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Re: A Year on One Composer
Reply #5 on: December 03, 2021, 01:37:10 PM
thank you for precising this.
Certainly, the psychic problems of a victim of abuse
are different from those of the abusers of others, those who do things that
harm others.
However, getting deeply involved with the life, psyche and eventually music of a victim can be a very hard work and need good preparation and solid ground under the feet.
even for solid people and can cost a lot of power as you are also fighting off the abusing people stuck to the victim through time and space, as well. Hard work.
For music, its a bit different but it can get also very deep if youre a profound into soul work
beyond time and space or in other words: very sensible for music.
Another thing is the connection with the abusers, even by listening to their music.
That is extreme, specially if the person is dead already.
In front of destiny, anybody who does stuff like eating meat, is doing a form of (indirect) abuse of life. Car driving as well and specially sexual stuff that is not allowed instead of doing sane, healing, good, magic electric stuff with other people and not the primitive, sick making dog kind of contacts especially with the other sex.
Excuse me if I get a bit precise but I know from my own life that composers (in both cases dead ones/zombies) who are more on the side of abusers of life in their private live, can have a quite negative effect on sensible people if they let into their souls the music of sucha violent and life harming person. Thats what i mean and sorry bout the badly chosen word "pervert" which doesnt really mean anything, I know should better be avoided.
There are enough living great people, more on the victim side of life, who write the most magic music but they generally are not bigshots in capitalist (abusive) music system.
Thank you for your attention

Offline stringoverstrung

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Re: A Year on One Composer
Reply #6 on: December 03, 2021, 07:31:13 PM
Hi,

Why not go a year for one composer like Schumann (e.g. op 11 it is a lot of work anyway to get it right) and keep just one baroque piece in there for the finger dexterity(Bach or even better Scarlatti).

Regards,
Gert

Offline gipsypiano

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Re: A Year on One Composer
Reply #7 on: December 04, 2021, 07:31:39 AM
One year in the mind of Schumann?
In order to survive this, mentally, best thing I can think of is
to study the works of a good psychologist like CG Jung
in order to at least get an idea of what is happening in a mind
falling apart into pieces cause of a unsupportable sick
and harming, forbidden sexual life.
Having a solid spiritual base in life and doing lots of practical
work like gardening or other helps a lot in such cases.

Anyways I wonder whats the use of doing this cause worldwide
there are tens of thousands of great, mor sane and still living
composers, with more than enough great music to learn
for a lifetime and
finding your own musical creativity is infinitely better in any case.

Almost anybody can write better music than those Beethovens and all that
if only he can get access to his own creativity in a healthy way.


Offline quantum

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Re: A Year on One Composer
Reply #8 on: December 04, 2021, 03:14:52 PM
I think there is a lot of value towards forming a disciplined focused study on a composer.  A study that seeks deeper understanding of a composer, their life, their music.  To which would inform the important activity of creating new and innovative ways of thinking about and presenting the music in present day. 

That said, I might not want to exclusively dedicate an entire year to a composer.  There is too much good music out there.  Maybe just a shift in workload, more focus on a selected composer but not taking all the time away from studying other music. 
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline brogers70

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Re: A Year on One Composer
Reply #9 on: December 05, 2021, 08:35:42 PM
Thanks for the various replies. I guess I'm still not ready to take the plunge. I like the diversity, and also I'm sure if I give a house concert a mixed repertoire will go over better than an hour plus of Scarlatti. I'd be happy to hear an all-X recital, but many of my neighbors might not.

Offline anacrusis

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Re: A Year on One Composer
Reply #10 on: December 12, 2021, 09:47:23 PM
Thanks for the various replies. I guess I'm still not ready to take the plunge. I like the diversity, and also I'm sure if I give a house concert a mixed repertoire will go over better than an hour plus of Scarlatti. I'd be happy to hear an all-X recital, but many of my neighbors might not.

Life's too short to focus on one thing if you don't even really want to, IMO.

Offline mjames

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Re: A Year on One Composer
Reply #11 on: January 05, 2022, 01:38:51 PM
Yes I have, it's only possible if you're particularly obsessive with a composer or two. People say life is too short to focus on one composer, I'd say life is too short to spend it on other composers you're not really interested in.

I want to get all of Chopin's music (that I love I guess, not all 200+ works) because he's my absolute favorite. Over the years I've exposed myself to a bunch of composers, from the ones in the standard repertoire like Bach, Beethoven to more obscure ones like Liadov, Stachinsky or Medtner. Regardless of all that for some reason Chopin remains the closest to my heart.

I want to get all of his large scale works that I adore under my hands, to the point I can play any of them whenever I want wherever without any sort of prep work whatsoever. I spent the majority of 2021 working on learning his entire set of preludes, some etudes, polishing his op. 52 Ballade, learning the op. 23, a bunch of mazurkas and nocturnes. I played a little bit of Scriabin and Rachmaninoff here and there but that's pretty much all I did for an entire year. Mostly Chopin.

And I *** love it. I'll do it again this year as well. I don't feel like I'm wasting my life or whatever focusing on the one composer I truly hold dearly to my heart.

The goal is all of the op. 10, op. 25, and op. 28 sets. Most nocturnes (some of them are boring), about 20 or so Mazurkas, all Ballades, all Scherzi, Polonaise Fantaisie and Op. 53 (already learnt op. 44 and polonaise brillante), all waltzes, all impromptus (no 2 and op. 66 are left), and polishing op. 60 which I learnt poorly several years back. After I'm done with that I'll feel "relieved" and focus more on other stuff.

I definitely see myself spending an entire year on Liszt and Ravel in the next 5 years. Especially for that B minor Sonata!

Offline pianodannn

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Re: A Year on One Composer
Reply #12 on: February 10, 2022, 12:43:20 PM
Its a good idea to commit yourself for a year with one thing.
Unfortunately many (not all) well known and now dead artists and also composers
where more or less big perverts in their private life and therefore its not recommended to connect too much to this, better you try to connect yourself with great living musicians who have a private life that is clean and nothing to hide in it.
That gives you infinitely more than connecting to a dead pervert even if everybody says he was a great or the greatest anything in music.
Connecting to dead people is a very dangerous thing to do anyways and there are better composers out there than any of the well known historical ones.
Looking in other cultures for great musicians to connect can help, to start with gipsy culture musicians in front of your own house door can bee infinitely better than attracting the ghosts of dead and often mentally ill/bad but well known people from the past.
  Absolutely bizzarre that you are fixated on the idea that artists particularly from past generations are largely perverts, yet more modern artists are seemingly not prone to such perversions. As far as mental illness, well genius is very often acompanied by some form of insanity. But im afraid your suggested alternatives to the now dead perverts, are just as likely to have skeletons in the closet.As far as im aware, there have been no progress with eradicating the development perversion since the last generation  of perverts passed away. Meaning your gypsy bands, and anybody else you might recommend are statistically just as likely to be perverts.
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