Youtube is a fabulous source of many great recordings of many classical works and I encourage my students to look for recordings of their pieces. If I haven’t had the time to search for specific videos, I tell them to look for something that has only audio and an old-looking album cover, or for something that has been performed on a grand piano on a concert stage. I tell them to avoid anything that says “this is me playing in my living room.”
Having said that, here’s a video of me playing in my basement:) It’s a recording of one of the pieces in a book called Seasons by Red Leaf Pianoworks composer Teresa Richert. There are 8 pieces, ranging from approximately grade 6 to grade 9 (Intermediate to Early Advanced), inspired by nature and the outdoor activities associated with the four seasons. A lot of her music is flowing and lyrical, many with broken chord-type passages. Like her Red Leaf colleagues, Teresa successfully avoids gimmicky seventh chords and progressions.
Spring Showers calls for good control between the hands in a high register to depict the showers, and I would have recorded this one except I don’t have perfect control of all those raindrops yet. The Wind introduces the student to reading 3 staves. There is a good balance of different tempi and moods presented in the 8 pieces.
This is Moonlit Summer Night. It has a nice melody with lush chords and some arpeggiated passages that sound harder than they really are – always a good selling point for students. It’s a good piece for teaching cross-rhythms: the Left Hand in the middle section is in eighths, while the Right Hand is in triplets.
It was an interesting process making the performance decisions on my own in a very short time; with a newly composed piece – and anything in the last couple of decades is newly composed – there is no performance tradition associated with it; neither did I have the luxury of time spent with a student on this piece, both of us bringing insights and possibilities to the work. I tried a few different voicings and shapings before settling on this (for now).
The Red Leaf composers will have a booth at the MTNA Conference in New York this weekend (I really, really wish I was there!). If you are at the conference, be sure to stop by and see their music. They’re a very nice, friendly group of composers!
Otherwise, visit their website at http://www.redleafpianoworks.com. Most pieces have sound and score samples.
Disclosure: nothing to disclose! This blog is a labour of love; I don’t make a cent. At most I have received complimentary copies of some music I have reviewed. Everything else is stuff I already own. When I choose to review or promote something, there’s nothing in it for me, other than the simple satisfaction of hopefully helping someone else.