Saturday, February 4, 2006

The Thrill of a New Piece! The Agony of No Tinklies!

I'll tell you now that the title of this post is far more exciting than the actual subject matter. :) (Pianists may find this post slightly more interesting than non-pianists.)

The Thrill: Is there anything more thrilling than getting new sheet music in the mail? Than opening the book and methodically going through it, bending it back in all the right places so it will stay open in front of you on the piano? Feeling the clean new sheets with their bold black notes, as yet unmarred by pencil marks and eraser smudgings? Gazing upon that shiny new cover, which will soon enough be dull and nicked and smudged from being transported here and there? Writing "Waterfall" in beautiful English-teacher script on the top right-hand corner of the first inside page?

Yes, it is thrilling. I had that marvelous experience last night. But first, we had piano class, where I played the two Bach sinfonias and a Suzuki Bach piece. I'm finished "taking" the Gm sinfonia; I just wanted to play it one last time for group. The Suzuki stuff is ongoing but easy, so I finish one of those every few weeks. The Bm sinfonia is still in progress, but I'm probably at the 75 or 80% mark with it. After these wonderful sinfonias, it's time to move on to other pieces.

Deborah and I decided we should work on something that meets a few special criteria:

1) Something that is not Bach, since I've been playing him almost exclusively since school started (and since I'm going to start a P&F later this spring)
2) Something that will allow me to learn and practice new techniques, but that isn't particularly hard, since my practice time is so limited
3) Something that's not super-long, since my practice time is so limited
4) Something deliciously romantic that won't stress me out

So, she asked, "Do you have anything in mind?"

Oh, my. I only have so many "want-to-learn" pieces on my list that I'll stay busy until I'm at least 140.

I really love Schubert. (Happy Belated Birthday to Schubert, by the way.) I mentioned the Schubert Impromptus, which are absolutely beautiful. I'd played a couple in college, but I've really played very little Schubert in my life. I also mentioned the Liszt transcription of Schubert's "Ständchen," a beautiful piece that I've written about on this blog before. I have several recordings of both the Liszt piano transcription and the Schubert song, and it's one of my favorite pieces of all time. It's one of those things I've always wanted to learn.

So we decided on "Ständchen"! And ordered the music! And the music came in last week! And I picked it up at piano class last night! And I started playing when I got home! Oh, the thrill! The utter thrill!

It was surprisingly, almost disappointingly ... easy.

The Agony: I put on my Horowitz recording to follow along with the music, just for fun. And realized my copy doesn't have the the high, tinkly echoes of the theme in the third verse. Horowitz's third verse also has beautiful arpeggio tinklies.

Hey, wait a minute ... my version doesn't even have a third verse. Hm, maybe Horowitz is just doing his own thing. I put on another pianist's recording. Same thing. Another recording. Same thing. I did some scrounging on the internet. A Liszt person on the Piano Forums at said that my version isn't the Liszt version.

Now, the version I have is beautiful, but it's not the version I want to play. It is either some other Liszt version (the Alfred edition that I have says nothing about this being a made-easy version), or it's ... a made-easy version. It certainly wasn't difficult to play. It wasn't a piece of cake, but I was able to sight-read the entire thing the first time I played through it, and it sounded pretty good for a first time.

This is a nice version, but I want to play the Liszt version. I want to play the tinkly little echoes in the third verse. All those tinklies were part of the reason I even wanted to learn this piece in the first place.

I'm trying to find that version online, but now I'm paranoid that I'll order the wrong music again. I think this Dover edition may be OK, but I know nothing about Dover's quality as music publishers. I know that their literature publishing leaves much to be desired, since they purposely go for putting out the cheapest books.

Oh well. I'll figure it out. Meanwhile, I'm playing the heck out of my easy version. :)

No comments:

Blogging Elsewhere

Hi, Strangers! I've been blogging with my friend Anh over at Then a Gentle Whisper . Check it out!