ABRSM Grade 7 





This Gigue is the closing movement of Suite no.8 in F minor, HWV 433.

I find for fast pieces I really need to practice them very slowly, giving myself a chance to work out what's going on and to show my fingers where to go. Only when it is fluent, perhaps feeling quavers (or semiquavers) as the basic pulse, will I start to push the tempo on.


Three runs-through here: slow, medium and fast.




This Minuetto is the third and final movement of Sonata in E-flat, Hob. XVI:49.

Here we take a look at the three-against-two rhythm that we encounter at the very start of this piece. 





This Andante is the middle movement of Sonata in G, K. 283 from the group of 6 Sonatas Mozart wrote aged 19.





This Giga is the final movement of Partita no.1 in B♭, BWV 825. The sheet music for the entire Partita is attached below. The two Minuets are on the ABRSM Grade 6 syllabus.

I think this movement can work at different tempos, but, being a gigue, certainly on the lively side! I took it nice and steadily initially, teaching my fingers the moves and the LH really needs to know where it's going, with all that leaping about. Committing it to memory meant I could concentrate on the keyboard for the exam-ready performance, trying to read the notes and leap about at speed is beyond me!





The background to this piece is explained in the ABRSM booklet.

Delibes' 'Six airs de danse dans le style ancien' were written as incidental music for the 1882 revival of Victor Hugo's play 'Le roi s'amuse'. The play is about a hunchbacked court jester and is set in Paris in the 1520s. In a clever, light-hearted manner, Delibes here freely imitates the French music of an earlier period.

Some things to watch out for in this piece ...that I ought to have given it a little more practice!

  • Articulation in both the LH and RH. The LH with its quiet staccato and big stretches is tricky, especially the middle note of each chord. RH mordents, especially bar 8.

  • Hold on to those Gs with the RH thumb. I kept forgetting the one at bar 34.





A few observations:

  • Perhaps obvious, but start slowly, paying attention to the articulation and dynamics from the outset.

  • Not all the LH chords are staccato. Some, as in bars 11 & 12 need to be held just a little.

  • Bar 25 - I played the LH pattern an octave too low, anticipating too soon the effect of bar 27.

  • Bars 42-47 need careful fingering - there are some marks on my score!

  • Bars 48-53 you'll see that I have redistributed the notes between the hands, specifically that alto G.

  • Bars 58-61 are tricky because of the repeated pattern at the top of the texture and the chords shared between the hands.





Elizabeth is no.2 of Shulbrede Tunes written in 1911. Elizabeth, who went on to become a 'Bright Young Thing', was Parry's grand-daughter and Shulbrede in West Sussex, once a priory, was her home, purchased by Parry's daughter and her husband in 1905.





The 7 Preludes of op.17 were written in 1895/96. No.4 weaves a melodic line over an evenly flowing bass.




Rosemary's Waltz is from Tender is the Night, music written by Richard Rodney Bennett for the BBC, 1985 adaptation of the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald.




Prokofiev was in his mid-20s when he wrote this collection of piano pieces. They were written between 1915 and 1917 - difficult times. They are surely somewhat experimental ...impressionistic perhaps? 

The 20 short pieces are collectively known as Visions fugitives (Fleeting Visions). 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.