Listening No. 3: Mozart Concerto for piano and Orchestra (d-minor) K.466
This is an amazing opportunity to see a pianist conduct from the keyboard, at the same time she plays the soloist keyboard part with the orchestra, which was a common practice at the time of Mozart. This multi-tasking is done by the great pianist Mitsuko Uchida. I encourage students to listen to how the orchestra and the pianist ‘speak’ back and forth, or come together. Listen for different characters in the music, and which instruments or instrument combinations create them. Imagine what is the story the musical passages convey, and notice how they are woven together. Imagine characters, events, actions, moods, and bridges or travel time in the music that lead the events or characters to new places. Even though it is fun to watch her conduct, you might listen once, just closing your eyes.
Listening No. 2: Liszt Transcription of Schuber’ts Erlkönig
Thanks to those who listened last wee and sent me their instrument list. This week is an intense transcription for piano by Franz Liszt, of Franz Schubert’s song Erlkönig, (elf king), which in sung form, has the dramatic lyrics of a poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, where father and son are in dialogue about escaping an elf king who is trying to take the child, part of the fantastical and macabre themes common in the Romantic era. A few students have pieces imitating horses right now. See if you can hear the galloping horses in this piece! Since the translation of the poem could be scary for younger kids, I’ll let you look up the sung version at your discretion. This is an exciting piano only version played by Yuja Wang. Optional: Students, text me if you know what to call a driving rhythmic pattern that repeats itself in music. Enjoy!
Listening No. 1: Benjamin Britten’s Young People’s Guide to the Orchestra
Since piano can be seen as an embodiment of the entire symphony orchestra, it helps to get acquainted with instruments and instrument families. This catchy composition by Benjamin Britten Introduces us to all the instruments individually, through a beautiful melody by Henry Purcell. See how many instruments your student can name! Have them text me a pic of a list the make of the instruments in order of appearance if they like for a more engaging experience.