Saturday, December 20, 2008


As I posted on the Pianoworld Einaudi thread, I have reached about the same level of polish on I Due Fiumi (IDF) as you heard on Ombre, my recital piece. Which is to say, good, for me, with plenty of room for improvement. To a lesser extent, I can make it through Stella Del Mattino just fine, although I do have trouble with one particular transition.

Next up in Alfred’s Book Two is the first truly challenging piece in the book... at the moment, I forget what it's called (and I am on the train, so there is no chance for me to find out until later... at which point, I'll probably forget. I'm like that sometimes.) Since it's hard, and since it rates low on the Easy to Sounds Good Ratio (hold that thought), I am totally procrastinating on that one.

So I am at a crossroads. On the one hand, I could record IDF as my next recital entry, but in all honesty, I probably won’t. Part of the reason for this is that IDF is a pretty common recital piece, given that it has a nice Easy to Sounds Cool Ratio*. It’s approachable for noobs like myself, but is nice music to listen to, even when not played perfectly.

* - This is a concept I am still trying to work out. And I don't have it fully baked yet, but I'll tell you where I am with it now. It's sort of like a Quality to Price Ratio (QPR) you might use to evaluate a couple bottles of wine. Sure, Ridge Montebello tastes better than Borja Borsao, but it also costs 20 times as much. Is it 20 times better? For the same price, give me 20 bottles of the cheap (but still very enjoyable) Spanish wine. **

The Easy to Sounds Cool Ratio is similar. The Rachmaninoff Prelude in C sounds great, but it is HARD. For the work it takes to be able to play it, it better be rewarding. Hot Cross Buns? Not so hard. And after awhile, annoying.

To me, the most appealing piano pieces, right now, score high on the reward scale, but aren’t as hard to play as they sound. Until I can actually play things that really are difficult, I'll happily settle for things that only sound difficult. And I'll take your recommendations, while I am at it.

** - YMMV, of course.

So I am evaluating which Einaudi piece to tackle next. For recital purposes, one of the lessons I learned with Ombre is that shorter is better. I can't play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for five minutes without making an error, why should I think I can play real music for that long, error-free? So one option is to try to pick up something short and sweet, like Melodia Africana I or II, and try to get it nicely polished in the next month or so. (A month is about how long it has taken me to reach an acceptable level of polish on Limbo, Stella, Ombre, and IDF.) The only problem with these and other short pieces is that they are less interesting to me than some other longer but still semi-approachable possibilities, like I Giorni* or (thought Monica might disagree with me here) Le Onde. A compromise piece night be Samba, which plays shorter than it seems, because it has a lot of repetition… but I don’t find it as musically interesting.

* - I Giorni, according to several sources, was based on a 12th century folk song from the African Country of Mali. It was an homage to a hippopotamus that was much beloved by the residents of a village, but was killed by a hunter.** I mean, really, what's not to like here?

** - No, I did make that up. Seriously.

Long story short: I ran off copies of all these, and will be tinkering with them over the next week or two. One of them will stand out. I’ll be sure to let you know.

- Aw2pp, who, to this day, prefers the sound of Racer X's car to the Mach V


Anonymous said...

I like your evaluation index- it's an interesting concept.

As for your next piece to learn, is "polishing for the next recital" (which you mentioned several times) a strong criterion? If so, then I would think you want something you think you can get to speed. And are you limiting to Einaudi only? If so, I can't help you out there. Not really a fan, but that's just me, apparently. lol

And, as always, this is all IMO, mainly because:

1) I've decided I don't want to play really difficult pieces. I'm working on expanding my collection of Easy Piano books.


2) I've given up on the recitals.

How's Jason doing?

Always Wanted to Play Piano said...

I've got a question for you on this, but will put it in a new post.