ABRSM Grade 5
Plauderei (Chat) is the first piece of op. 60, a group of 25 short piano pieces. The ABRSM booklet gives the title Plaudereien to the entire collection, though they have also been published as Preludes. If you enjoy this piece, there are plenty more to discover! Kirchner wrote a great deal of piano music and, from those I know, strong melodies and imaginative use of harmony are traits I admire.
If you are preparing for the exam, the first repeat should be observed.
This Étude in A minor is from 25 Études progressive, op. 50. This is no. 2, so one of the more comfortable ones and is a study in playing precisely the rhythms and patterns we might encounter in compound duple time (6/8).
Here is a recording showing a 'synthesia' display.
Louis Farrenc was a professor of piano at the Conservatoire National de Paris during the middle of the 19th-century. She fought for, and achieved equal pay for women - plus ça change!
Farrenc composed principally for solo piano and a variety of chamber ensembles though there are also 3 symphonies. Here is a recording of the 3rd movement of her sextet for piano and winds, op. 40.
Known largely for his orchestral works and the wonderful violin concerto, Sibelius wrote a great deal of piano music too and much of it very playable! Joueur de harpe is no. 8 from a collection of 10 Bagatelles op. 34. The sheet music is available on imslp.org, but as Sibelius lived into his 90s and only died in 1957, it is not in the public domain globally so I can't attach it here.
Rektor (Schoolmaster) is no. 12 from Melodie ludowe.
Lentamente is no. 1 from Visions fugitives (Fleeting Visions), op.22.
Prokofiev was in his mid-20s when he wrote this collection of 20 short piano pieces. They were written between 1915 and 1917 - difficult times. They are surely somewhat experimental ...impressionistic perhaps? The ABRSM notes below the score draw attention to the dream-like quality of this particular piece and as such it has similarities with another piece on the Grade 5 list; B4 Dreams by Ernest Bloch.
When the pieces came to be published they were given the title Visions fugitives. The explanation given is that Prokofiev was playing the pieces amongst friends, a poet amongst them was inspired to write some verses. These were subsequently translated and it is from this French version of the poems that the collection of piano pieces gets its name.
An up-beat, swing feel for this menacing piano piece which evokes Holywood crime films of the 1940s and 50s. The Third Man is an example of this movie genre I enjoy.
New Orleans Nightfall is from New Orleans Jazz Styles (Willis).
Pieces by William Gillock are also on the ABRSM Grade 2 & 4 syllabuses.
Valse Tyrolienne is RCM (2015) Level 7.
This lively valse is the first of 6 'petites pièces enfantines' which make up the collection Villageoises, Francis Poulenc composed in Montmartre during February of 1933 ...says my score. The music looks straight-forward enough on the page, but it's quick: the metronome indication being dotted minim = 80 (or crotchet = 240!). We need to take care with the LH, especially that awkward leap in bar 5 that reoccurs many times. The A section (bb. 1-16) is in D major, the B section (bb. 17-32) in the dominant (A major) and each section relies on just the tonic and dominant chords of their respective keys. The RH melody of the A section is made entirely of notes from the triad, helping it sound like a yodel.
Scales, minim (half note) = 63
parallel motion, 3 octaves
all keys, major and minor (either harmonic or melodic)
contrary-motion, 2 octaves, major & harmonic minor
Either Group 1: F and D♭/C♯
or Group 2: F♯ and B♭
chromatic, 3 octaves
beginning on any note
chromatic contrary-motion, 2 octaves
beginning on D and A♭
Arpeggios, crotchet (quarter note) = 88
all keys, major and minor