Great Editing: The Difference between Success & Frustration!

Guest post by Ingrid Jacobson Clarfield and Phyllis Alpert Lehrer, editors of Classics for the Developing Pianist and Study Guides for Preparation, Practice & Performance Books 1-5

Classics for the Developing Pianist and Study Guides for Preparation, Practice & Performance Books 1-5

Our 5 anthologies contain the 100 pieces that pianists should learn to play. In the 5 companion Study Guides for each piece. Problems are IDENTIFIED and problems are SOLVED.                                                             

What Makes Our Books Unique

With all the great anthologies out there, why should you buy ours?

  1. ALTERNATIVE FINGERINGS:  Hands come in all shapes and sizes! Our fingerings often give two choices that will encourage students to try alternatives. We suggest they then cross out the fingering they will not use.       
  2. ADDITIONAL DYNAMICS ARE ADDED FOR:
    • VARIETY: Don’t you wish your student would play at different dynamic levels, rather than the same dynamic for every piece? Our edition gives different dynamic levels, just as any great artist does when performing.
    • SHAPING & PACING:  We have found that our students need help in shaping and pacing long crescendos and decrescendos.
    • BALANCE & VOICING: We bet your students, like ours, often need to be reminded that melodies need to be clearly heard over an accompaniment, or voiced clearly within a chord.
  3. ADDITIONAL PEDALING IS SUGGESTED: Anton Rubenstein said that “the pedal is the soul of the piano,” but how many of your students don’t give it a second or even a first thought? You can’t teach students to hear tasteful pedaling without first giving a good example. We clearly mark where to depress and release the pedal, when and where to use una corda, half pedal and other special pedaling effects. Many times it’s okay and even necessary to add subtle touches of pedal in Baroque and Classical pieces.
  4. TEMPO RANGE AND TEMPO CHANGE: We know you’ll agree that no one tempo is perfect for any piece to be played successfully!  For each piece we give a tempo range (for example quarter=100-120) rather than a specific tempo.  Many teachers have told us they love this feature. We’ve also indicated suggestions for rhythmic freedom that will enhance an artistic performance.
  5. ARTICULATION & ORNAMENTATION: Suggested articulations and realizations for ornaments are given to teach students historically accurate style and taste.

Each book contains 20 pieces from the four main style periods: Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Contemporary. Additional suggestions for repertoire from the 20th and 21st centuries are given for each level. Take a look at the Table of Contents and see the pieces that are in each book:

Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3 | Book 4 | Book 5

Why Study Guides for Each Book

Are you curious as to how to get your students to play Fur Elise musically AND in one tempo? Ever wonder how to teach those long trills in Mozart K.545, or how to play Clair de Lune like a professional?

During workshops and master classes, teachers often ask us questions about how we teach the pieces. Our Study Guides show teachers and students how to PREPARE, PRACTICE and POLISH the pieces in the companion repertoire books. 

Each piece that appears in Classics for the Developing Pianist appears in the Study Guide for that level. For each of the 100 pieces in the collection, we have detailed:

  • BACKGROUND:  Pianists enjoy knowing about the composer and about the character and mood of each piece. Lesson time is saved and pianists are given a sense of history, style, and general context.
  • FEATURES: This section provides a preview of the stylistic and musical elements that bring each piece to life.  Specifics such as texture, phrasing and compositional devices are highlighted to enhance the pianist’s interpretation and emotional projection.  
  • PRELIMINARY ACTIVITIES: Keep music learning fun and positive by anticipating mistakes before they happen. Pencil points provide suggestions for marking the score with ideas that anticipate rhythm and reading issues. Preparatory Exercises anticipate technical problems and suggest short, but useful warm-ups.
  • GENERAL PRACTICE POINTERS: While we suggest slow practice both hands separately (HS) an together (HS) these basic strategies only work when students know what to listen for and how to connect musical intensions with technical approaches. Practicing strong beats only, experimenting with alternate fingerings, and many other suggestions are included.                      
  • CREATIVE PRACTICE TECHNIQUES: Practice is only fun when students feel like they’ve quickly solved each specific problem in a piece. Strategies for fun and efficient practice include Blocking (BL), Groups Backward (GB), Groups Forward (GF),Two for One (2/1), Rhythm Patterns (RP). These are among the technics shown for isolating AND FIXING problem measures in each piece.
  • FINISHING TOUCHES: “What you see is often what you hear.” Students gain confidence in performing when we help them learn opening and closing gestures, lyrics and choreography for reinforcing the character of the music, and additional suggestions for use of rubato, voicing and dynamics are among the many suggestions given.

Watch 8-year-old Lilian Ji work on Part B of “Für Elise” with the help of our preparatory exercises:

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about this new series we developed together. We’ve dedicated out lives to helping teachers and students around the world play with greater artistry and expression. Through this repertoire collections and the corresponding study guides, we hope to help you and your students as well!

Repertoire Books:

Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3 | Book 4 | Book 5

Study Guides:

Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3 | Book 4 | Book 5

About the Editors: 

Phyllis Lehrer
Ingrid Jacobson Clarfield

Ingrid Jacobson Clarfield and Phyllis Alpert Lehrer are award winning Piano Professors & Private Teachers who have taught graduate and undergraduate courses in Piano Pedagogy for over 30 years and have taught private students of all ages and levels for over 50 years!!  

Edition Peters: Piano, Pedagogy, Studies and the Influence of Carl Czerny

Guest post by Christian A. Pohl, Professor of Piano and Piano Methodology, Head of Piano Department, University of Music and Theatre ‘Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’ Leipzig 

The start of the nineteenth century saw a seismic shift in the world of domestic keyboard playing as the piano rapidly displaced the harpsichord and clavichord as the instrument of choice in homes across Europe. Seizing on this new opportunity, a series of piano instruction methods were swiftly published, followed by methods and studies over subsequent generations that covered the rudiments of piano playing, technique and performance practice. A huge number of these studies are represented in the Edition Peters Piano Catalogue.

Major names in the field of piano pedagogy were quickly established – including Beyer, Burgmüller, Hanon and Clementi – but it was one who followed behind them that arguably defined the shape of piano pedagogy for generations to come. Indeed, even today – nearly 200 years after this educational “meteorite” first struck the German-speaking piano world – the waves of his impact are still being felt. There is no getting around Carl Czerny when it comes to pianistic exercises or didactic approaches to building a virtuoso pianist.

Carl Czerny
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Edition Peters: Reflecting the Composer’s Intentions and the Value of Urtext

Guest post by Linda Hawken, MD of Edition Peters Europe, and Kathryn Knight, President of C.F. Peters, USA

Being a music publisher in the 21st century presents many different challenges to those faced by publishers at the beginning of the industry 200 years ago. Nowhere is this better illustrated than at Edition Peters, founded in Leipzig in 1800 – a time when the idea of music copyright was only just starting to be thought about, with no laws in place to protect the composer. Instead, a successful publishing relationship depended solely on a close and ongoing collaboration with the composer.

Edition Peters’ unique history tells one of the most extraordinary stories of the music-publishing world.  The roster of composers with whom Edition Peters worked directly across the 19th century is dizzying, from Beethoven to Grieg and Mahler.

Edition Peters created the first editions of some of the most famous compositions of all time, with those editions being proofread and corrected by the composers themselves long before the concept of “Urtext” was conceived. Yet despite the provenance of these important editions, it became fashionable in the later 20th century to disregard them – and the unique value of the composer’s direct input – in favor of Urtext “interpretations” by musicologists.

The concept of the Urtext only emerged in the early 1930s, devised by musicologists who aimed to get closer to “the composer’s intentions” by reviewing multiple sources. Indeed it was Edition Peters who released one of the very first Urtext editions with its 1933 edition of J. S. Bach’s Inventions and Sinfonias. After the Second World War, other publishers took on this concept, producing their own Urtext editions. However, this led to much confusion about the meaning and significance of the editions, and whether they reflected the composer’s true intentions.

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Beethoven’s Violin Sonatas: Setting the New Performance Standard

Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven’s ten violin sonatas are among the most famous works of chamber music history and represent, together with Mozart’s works for this instrument duo, the core of violin repertoire from the Viennese Classicist period.

Though composed in a short span in Beethoven’s creative life (nine of the ten were written between 1798 and 1803, with the final one appearing in 1812), these sonatas bear all the marks of Beethoven’s compositional innovation: the breaking of formal tradition, a vast emotional scope, skillful musical manipulation, and, of course, the trademark urgency and power.

The new Bärenreiter edition of the violin sonatas — or, as more appropriately titled by Beethoven himself, sonatas for the pianoforte and violin — offers a revolutionary editorial approach to the music that does more than simply hand down the text.

These new volumes, edited by historical performing practice expert Dr. Clive Brown, present an approach to performance that is quite different from what most of today’s musicians are accustomed to. This approach not only falls much more in line with what Beethoven would have expected, but also imbues the music with a renewed vigor and offers musicians an incredible array of opportunities for creativity.

“This is the highest quality of academic scholarship, but it is not only that: this edition has enabled me to bring these sonatas to life in a way that has not been possible before – this is historical research in the service of living and breathing music!”

Viktoria Mullova, Violinist

Here violinist Viktoria Mullova and pianist Alasdair Beatson demonstrate some of their most illuminating discoveries from the “Spring” Sonata (Op. 24) and show us why they’re excited to work with these new editions:

The Editorial Approach

Dr. Brown’s new editions of the Beethoven violin sonatas combine a traditional scholarly Urtext approach with a wealth of information on historical performing practice informed by the thorough study of recordings and editions made by 19th-century musicians, many of whom had direct contact with Beethoven himself or with others that did.

These historical sources reveal a striking discrepancy between performance and notation. Composers in Beethoven’s era, including Beethoven himself, simply did not write down a large swath of the expressive gestures that they would have expected musicians to make, including rhythmic and tempo flexibility, piano arpeggiation and asynchrony, portamento, cadenzas, and ornamental, rather than continuous, vibrato effects.

By not including these details in the text, composers created a space bursting with potential for the creative performer to exploit in what could and, most importantly, would be wildly distinctive and thrillingly emotional performances. In many respects, it was a creative freedom much more akin to jazz than to today’s renditions of classical music.

more “Beethoven’s Violin Sonatas: Setting the New Performance Standard”

Revisiting Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor

Mozart-NepomukDellaCroce
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Mass in C minor (K. 427) stands alongside the Requiem (K. 626) as his most remarkable church composition. Today it enjoys almost cult status, first because of its monumentality, which is unique in Mozart’s sacred vocal music, and second because, like the Requiem, it partakes of the aura of the unfinished and mysterious. The exact circumstances that gave rise to it as a votive mass have eluded explanation to the present day. The same applies to the reasons why it was left unfinished and to many details of its first performance, which, as far as we know, took place at St. Peter’s Church, Salzburg, on October 26, 1783. Finally, the transmission of the original sources also raises many questions. Indeed, it is astonishing that the Mass, although left as a torso, was performed at all during Mozart’s final visit to Salzburg. more “Revisiting Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor”

A Short Foray into Beethoven’s Variations

Guest post by Dr. Dominik Rahmer, editor at G. Henle Verlag.

HenleBeethoven250

The formal technique of “variations” played an important role in Beethoven’s work throughout his entire life. Critic Paul Bekker wrote in 1911, “Beethoven begins with variations,” and indeed this is true not only of the character of his oeuvre, but also of its chronological progression: Beethoven’s very first published work was his 9 Variations on a March by Dressler, WoO 63, which appeared in 1782.

DresslerTheme
Dressler Variations, WoO 63: Beginning of the Theme

Similarly, we could add that Beethoven also ends with variations. The Diabelli Variations, Op. 120, which are amongst his last piano works, not only crown his creativity, but also, in the history of piano variations, are probably equaled only by Bach’s Goldberg Variations.

The panoply of variations within his multi-movement works also indicates how fundamental this technique is in Beethoven’s musical thinking. Consider, for example, the profound closing movement of the last piano sonata, Op. 111, or the grand finale of the 3rd Symphony.

Though the themes of these movements were usually Beethoven’s own inventions, here we will focus on the pieces composed as independent variation sets on popular melodies. This vantage point reveals some interesting finds. more “A Short Foray into Beethoven’s Variations”

Cantabile Qualities: Choral Music by Beethoven

Guest post by Jan Schumacher

Beethoven is not primarily thought of as a vocal composer, but why not? The choral collection compiled by Jan Schumacher, which contains both well-known and unknown choral works by Beethoven and original transcriptions of Beethoven’s works by other composers, reveals a great deal of extremely attractive repertoire.

Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven

The widely-held prejudice that “he could not write for voice” sticks to few composers as much as it does to Ludwig van Beethoven. This may be due to the fact that his place in music history is primarily as a revolutionary symphonist and creator of incomparable chamber music like the string quartets and piano sonatas. To take this to mean that he had no understanding of the human voice or did not know how to write for chorus, however, is to draw the wrong conclusion. Beethoven, like nearly every other composer of his age and indeed until the first half of the 20th century (with a few notable exceptions such as Chopin and Paganini), was equally used to composing for voice and instruments.

It is when we try to label Beethoven that we develop what can be misleading expectations. more “Cantabile Qualities: Choral Music by Beethoven”

Performance Practice: Interview with musicologist and Bärenreiter editor Clive Brown

Question: You are very well known for your pioneering work in performance practice. The term and all its ramifications are gaining in recognition and application today. Where does performance practice have its origins?

Clive Brown: It’s not a new thing. Already in the early 19th century people were concerned about performing the music of older composers in the style appropriate to it. When the 21-year-old violinist Spohr played in Leipzig in 1804, Friedrich Rochlitz admired ‘his insight into the spirit of different compositions, and his artistry in reproducing each in its own spirit’, which he had not observed to this extent in the playing of other musicians. Rochlitz found this particularly impressive in his quartet playing where he was ‘almost completely another person when he, for example, plays Beethoven (his darling, whom he handles splendidly), or Mozart (his ideal), or Rode (whose grandiosity he knows very well how to assume, without any scratching or scraping, yielding little to him, particularly in fullness of tone), or when he plays Viotti and galant composers: he is a different person, because they are different people.

Around the same time people were concerned that the proper tempos for Haydn and Mozart were being forgotten. In the second decade of the 19th century, Salieri provided Mälzel’s metronome with marks for Haydn’s Die Schöpfung, of which he had directed the premiere, and Gottfried Weber wrote an article about un-authentic tempos in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. During the next few decades more “Performance Practice: Interview with musicologist and Bärenreiter editor Clive Brown”

Celebrating 150 Years of Edition Peters Green

Originally posted on www.editionpeters.com.

Hidden behind the iconic green covers of Edition Peters lies a story that is fascinating, complex, at times heartbreakingly tragic, but overwhelmingly inspirational. This year Edition Peters proudly celebrates 150 years of the green cover series and here is a short version of our story.

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10 Fun Facts about Beethoven

by Jacy Burroughs

beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) is arguably one of the most well-known composers of all time. From his deafness and notoriously angry look to the movie dog who got his name from howling at the famous first four notes of the Fifth Symphony, Beethoven is still recognizable in today’s culture. His music and life are incredibly complex and this post barely brushes the surface, but hopefully you will learn something new and interesting.

1. No one knows for sure Beethoven’s date of birth. He was baptized on December 17, 1770. In that era and region where Beethoven was born, it was the tradition of the Catholic Church to baptize the day after birth. Therefore, most scholars accept December 16 as Beethoven’s birthday.

2. Beethoven’s father wanted to pass his son off as a child prodigy so he lied about young Beethoven’s age at his first public performance. For a good portion of Beethoven’s life, he believed he was born in 1772 instead of 1770. more “10 Fun Facts about Beethoven”