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Mozart and Beethoven in the same programme?


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#1 sabretooth

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Posted 03 March 2022 - 10:13

Greetings,

 

I have been putting a lot of time and effort into thinking about which composers and pieces compliment each other in a performance and for some reason have it in my head that putting Mozart and Beethoven together is a big no-no. This is probably because when I consider piano (or keyboard if you prefer) works of both composers I immediately think 'sonata'.

 

I passed ARSM 3 months ago with the following repertoire which avoided Beethoven for this reason:

 

Mozart: Sonata in C K309  (Classical)
Sculthorpe: Night Pieces  (20th C)

Chopin: Waltz in Ab major Op 69 #1 (Romantic)

 

For dipABRSM however I am looking to include both Mozart and Beethoven to show their similarities plus other works to show where they came from and what it eventually led to. To achieve this I aim for a virtuosic Beethoven sonata and a more mellow Mozart (Adagio in B minor) which I originally discarded from ARSM for portraying the wrong mood for the performance I was aiming for at that time.

As such, my idea for dipABRSM is as follows:

 

Beethoven: Sonata in C minor - ‘Pathétique’ (Classical/Romantic overlap)

Scarlatti: 2 Sonatas in C K.308 (L.359) and K.309 (L.454) (Baroque)

Mozart: Adagio in B minor K540 (Classical)

Poulenc: Novelette #3 in E minor (20th C)

 

I was really aiming to do Poulenc Novelette 2 as this is my favourite, however having included pieces in both C minor and B minor, I felt Bb minor would perhaps seem a bit jarring. Novelette 1 I discarded due to the key signature being C major - something I already explored with the Scarlatti.

 

Does anyone believe it is a faux pas in including both Beethoven and Mozart here? Do you feel the differences between the pieces outweigh the similarities in genre/period?

 

Thanks for opinions.

s


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#2 fsharpminor

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Posted 03 March 2022 - 11:13

I personally I dont think both Mozart and Beethoven  would be ideal , but as that Mozart is the beautiful B Minor Adagio rather than a Sonata it might be OK.  As the Bflat minor Novelette is a rather more lively piece I'd still do that one and would be a good finishing piece.  did you enjoy the Sculthorpe, I could do with trying some new 20th C stuff but I dont know them.


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#3 sabretooth

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Posted 03 March 2022 - 11:56

I personally I dont think both Mozart and Beethoven  would be ideal , but as that Mozart is the beautiful B Minor Adagio rather than a Sonata it might be OK.  As the Bflat minor Novelette is a rather more lively piece I'd still do that one and would be a good finishing piece.  did you enjoy the Sculthorpe, I could do with trying some new 20th C stuff but I dont know them.

Thank you fsharpminor.

 

Perhaps you are right that the differences between Pathetique and the B Minor Adagio are sufficient enough for a somewhat-balanced recital. It is certainly something I will continue to consider whilst learning both pieces.

As for the Bb Minor Novelette, I think there may be enough dissonance in this piece for the key to not pose any real problem in relation to others. Again, something I will consider - thank you for that point.

 

As for Sculthorpe - I found Night Pieces just beautiful. I. Snow and II. Moon are very easy to pick up and play, even from an interpretation and flow standpoint. III. Flowers has a lovely cadenza-like passage which brings energy to the movement.  IV. Night lowers the energy to almost nothing, but the atonality here gives it an edge. It is the least favourite of mine.

V. Stars is just wonderful - faster than all previous, flows much more naturally, and a huge range of movement - at one point the left hand leaping the right and playing 3 or more notes in quick succession over the range of nearly 4 octaves.

 

Definitely take a look. It's not for everyone, but even if you don't like the suite as a whole, one or two of the individual pieces I am sure will speak to you.

Best regards,

s


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#4 fsharpminor

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Posted 03 March 2022 - 12:01

 

I personally I dont think both Mozart and Beethoven  would be ideal , but as that Mozart is the beautiful B Minor Adagio rather than a Sonata it might be OK.  As the Bflat minor Novelette is a rather more lively piece I'd still do that one and would be a good finishing piece.  did you enjoy the Sculthorpe, I could do with trying some new 20th C stuff but I dont know them.

Thank you fsharpminor.

 

Perhaps you are right that the differences between Pathetique and the B Minor Adagio are sufficient enough for a somewhat-balanced recital. It is certainly something I will continue to consider whilst learning both pieces.

As for the Bb Minor Novalette, I think there may be enough dissonance in this piece for the key to not pose any real problem in relation to others. Again, something I will consider - thank you for that point.

 

As for Sculthorpe - I found Night Pieces just beautiful. I. Snow and II. Moon are very easy to pick up and play, even from an interpretation and flow standpoint. III. Flowers has a lovely cadenza-like passage which brings energy to the movement.  IV. Night lowers the energy to almost nothing, but the atonality here gives it an edge. It is the least favourite of mine.

V. Stars is just wonderful - faster than all previous, flows much more naturally, and a huge range of movement - at one point the left hand leaping the right and playing 3 or more notes in quick succession over the range of nearly 4 octaves.

 

Definitely take a look. It's not for everyone, but even if you don't like the suite as a whole, one or two of the individual pieces I am sure will speak to you.

Best regards,

s

 

Thanks for those comments re the Sculthorpe.


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#5 HelenVJ

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Posted 05 March 2022 - 14:15

Do you have any other Beethoven sonata that you could offer, possibly one in a major key? Your programme seems quite minor-key heavy, and also that sonata is played so often it might be good to choose something slightly more unusual.
A 19th century romantic work would  balance well - maybe some Schumann ( Abegg Variations?)


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#6 fsharpminor

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Posted 05 March 2022 - 16:32

Do you have any other Beethoven sonata that you could offer, possibly one in a major key? Your programme seems quite minor-key heavy, and also that sonata is played so often it might be good to choose something slightly more unusual.
A 19th century romantic work would  balance well - maybe some Schumann ( Abegg Variations?)

I don't think major/minor issues matter much and  of course the famous middle movement of the Pathétique is major.  Beethoven Op 10 No 2 has three major movements and is not difficult to learn  (it was my Dip piece in 1963 ! and I still play it). But I expect you wouldn't want to change the Sonata now.   Both my Bach and Sonata were in F, and my other piece A flat major.


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#7 sabretooth

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Posted 06 March 2022 - 15:45

Do you have any other Beethoven sonata that you could offer, possibly one in a major key? Your programme seems quite minor-key heavy, and also that sonata is played so often it might be good to choose something slightly more unusual.
A 19th century romantic work would  balance well - maybe some Schumann ( Abegg Variations?)

I was actually considering an alternative to the Poulenc: Halffter's Habanera (Grade 8 2013-2014 C3) - Major and quite upbeat with an unarguably-Spanish style. Both Scarlatti Sonatas are major, as is the 2nd movement of the Beethoven as fsharpminor stated. I also do not think this balance matters a great deal, but with this substitution we could argue that 3 of the pieces (and a movement) are major and a piece (and two movements) are minor.

I will certainly look into the Schumann even if just for the sake of curiosity - thanks for the suggestion.

 

s


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#8 sabretooth

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Posted 08 March 2022 - 11:40

I have an idea for an alternate programme which avoids the Beethoven/Mozart collision and certainly takes into account different moods and styles. Martinez here is very similar in style to Mozart. Halffter can be replaced with Poulenc perhaps:

 

Beethoven: Sonata in C minor - ‘Pathétique’ (Classical/Romantic overlap)

Scarlatti: 2 Sonatas in C K.308 (L.359) and K.309 (L.454) (Baroque)

Martinez: Allegro (1st movement from Sonata No. 3 in A) (Classical) - As this is own choice, the 1st movement alone is permitted (Grade 8 2020-2021)

Halffter: Habanera (20th C - Spanish upbeat style) - Own Choice (Grade 8 2013-2014)

Burrell: Constellations I and II (20th C - Atonal)

 

s


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#9 Invidia

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Posted 08 March 2022 - 12:22

I love the idea of a male/female composer balance in your program, but I thought you could only have one own choice piece at DipA level?
 
Also I'm not sure about single sonata movements in a recital context. I've only come across one DipA program that did this (the 3rd mvt of Ives' Concord Sonata if you wanted to know) so it might be risky...

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#10 sabretooth

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Posted 08 March 2022 - 12:37

 

I love the idea of a male/female composer balance in your program, but I thought you could only have one own choice piece at DipA level?
 
Also I'm not sure about single sonata movements in a recital context. I've only come across one DipA program that did this (the 3rd mvt of Ives' Concord Sonata if you wanted to know) so it might be risky...

 

 

Hi,
I have already looked into both of your concerns before posting :)
Syllabus states:
"You may, however, also include in your programme a work or works of your own choice not listed on these pages but comparable in standard and lasting no more than 7 minutes in total"
(emphasis is my own)

As for the single movement, I contacted ABRSM syllabus team who responded:

"Thank you for getting in touch. As this is your own-choice piece, the first movement can just be played."

 

The reason I want to opt for this is twofold: Firstly it keeps the own choice selection below the 7 minute limit, and secondly the movement itself is comparable to Mozart's works in a condensed form. I think it works well as a standalone. Would you agree?

https://www.youtube....h?v=Oqi2I7UHdnE

As to whether it is a good idea however... Something still to think further about.

 

Thanks for your input :)

s


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#11 fsharpminor

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Posted 08 March 2022 - 14:24

I've had a good consideration of your alternative programme, though I dont know the Halftter and Burrell.  Id still go with your original choice,  Scarlatii, Mozart Adagio, Pathétique but with Poulenc Novelette no 2 .


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#12 HelenVJ

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Posted 08 March 2022 - 17:28

Interesting choices, especially the 20th century pieces.

Maybe it's just me, but I've always steered my students well away from the Pathetique. Not only is it over-played but also requires a lot of stamina and one needs to consider carefully what to follow it with. 


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#13 sabretooth

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Posted 09 March 2022 - 20:31

I've decided to break from the idea of a dipABRSM right now, and concentrate on repertoire for a while (I only achieved ARSM a couple of months ago). I have a varied selection of pieces from the dip list and grade 8 which I will be learning over the coming year or two, namely:

 

Beethoven - Sonata in C minor (‘Pathétique’), Op.13
Scarlatti - Sonata in C K.308 (L.359)
Scarlatti - Sonata in C K.309 (L.454)
Mozart - Adagio in B Minor K540
Burrell – Constellations 1
Burrell – Constellations 2
Poulenc - Novelette no. 3 in E Minor
Halffter – Habanera
Martinez - Sonata No. 3 in A
Bartok - Rondo (No. 1 from Three Rondos on Folk Tunes) - Will probably look into all three.
Haydn - Sonata in Eb, Hob.XVI/49
Schumann Waldszenen Op.82 - 6. Herberge

 

I think with the majority of these running comfortably and with more of a perspective of which pieces compliment and contrast, it will be more prudent to make a decision further down the line.

 

Thank you all again for your comments.

s


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#14 fsharpminor

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Posted 09 March 2022 - 21:11

A good selection.  I have played all 9 of Waldscenen for 60 years (I am 75 on Sunday), nothing is harder than Grade 8. I also play the Bartok 3 Rondos, and K309 is one of my favourite Mozarts (I play them all), and the Poulenc Novelettes.   Yes it isnt a bad Idea to develop more repertoire.  Having got ALCM dip at age 16 I seriously thought of having a go at  an 'L' dip when I retired 10 years ago at 65 , but it never happened.  Expensive, some health issues (quad by-pass) , and for no real purpose, I'm only an enthusiastic amateur !! 


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#15 sabretooth

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Posted 10 March 2022 - 08:46

A good selection.  I have played all 9 of Waldscenen for 60 years (I am 75 on Sunday), nothing is harder than Grade 8. I also play the Bartok 3 Rondos, and K309 is one of my favourite Mozarts (I play them all), and the Poulenc Novelettes.   Yes it isnt a bad Idea to develop more repertoire.  Having got ALCM dip at age 16 I seriously thought of having a go at  an 'L' dip when I retired 10 years ago at 65 , but it never happened.  Expensive, some health issues (quad by-pass) , and for no real purpose, I'm only an enthusiastic amateur !! 

fsharpminor - Many happy returns for Sunday :)

It really warms my heart to see an accomplished pianist with so many years of experience describe themselves as an 'enthusiastic amateur'. Very humbling to see, and does you credit.

 

Once again, I wish you all the best.

Ian


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