Apr 25 2012, 02:20 PM
I've taken on a pupil who had been planning to taek grade 4 this term before the sudden illness of her teacher, and she's already playing this piece. I hae videoed myself playing it to a standard I thought was worth her while aiming for, but I found myself worryng about the pedalling. This child seems to be making a big break between bars in the main theme, and indeed the pedal does stop there and resume again with the fist beat of the next bar. I found this pretty hard to do and still get a legato line: aiming for the sound I wanted, I generally ended up sneaking a little bit of pedal in at the end of the bar as well.
Any other comments on this piece?
Apr 25 2012, 07:53 PM
I taught this one last year and have a boy doing it this year. My feeling about the piece is that it is a nice one but a bit at the limit for Grade 4 - though would be too easy for Grade 5.
There are a lot of notes to learn and the interpretation requires a good feeling for the atmosphere of the music plus the fact that there are a number of technical difficulties.
For the pedalling - we have been following the suggestions and haven't had the feeling of "I can hear the barlines" - which is a phrase I sometimes use when they get hesitant at the end of a bar. I have taught the first line as two short phrases of one bar which answer each other, followed by a longer phrase - bars 3 and 4. I wonder if your pupil is letting the foot do the work of the hands - the chords where one lifts the foot do have a tenuto mark over them them and we have tried to weight them a bit. I don't think I would risk adding any more pedal to the piece as it might become a bit muddy. I tend, in general to go for less rather than more pedalling in many cases. Also the dynamics help in the first 8 bars - they give a sense of direction.
I've just had another look at the ABRSM Teacher's Notes and it says that "The undulating roll of the sea can be clearly pictured in the left hand figuration (bars 1-8) and here the phrases should be felt in four bar lengths." Well I don't agree. I don't hear any undulating roll of the sea. For me that would be a much bigger sound. I hear the ebb and flow of small waves coming up and down the sandy shore. So I suppose you take your pick!
My pupil has difficulty not rushing the triplets though this is coming under control a bit better at the moment. I think he gets it right in lesoon times when I remind him and then forgets at home. We have found the rubato useful because some of the slower bits are places where one can be thankful that there is a rit!
One other thing - I think it is worth near the exam date to get pupils to play their pieces through one after the other. I think they need to develop stamina and concentration and this is one piece which certainly requires both at this level.
Don't know if any of this is helpful -
Apr 25 2012, 07:57 PM
I have an adult student learning this, and it's not proving easy.
I tend to agree with you about the 'sea' thing. My student has given it his own title - he calls it 'All at Sea.'
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