Do you play in ensembles?

All topics musical, not specifically piano-related

Do you play in ensembles?

Yes
2
29%
No
4
57%
Sometimes
1
14%
 
Total votes : 7

Postby Beckywy » Thu May 11, 2006 3:21 pm

As pianists, we are usually a lonely bunch, but do have you or do you play in ensembles?
"The real purpose of studying music-to unite ourselves with our special gifts in such a way that one would add strength to the other" Seymour Bernstein
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Thu May 11, 2006 4:41 pm

Oh, I find chamber music at least as gratifying as solo, sometimes more so. Of course, I have been one of the lucky ones, having had a base of operations in university music jobs for 35 years, plus my wife and I did duo-piano concerts for a long time as well. But I've always hunted up groups just for fun, too, and luckily have a daughter who's a fine violist and knows a lot of string players (the downside is she lives 400 miles away now!).

This is an activity that should be encouraged and arranged for students by piano teachers, far more than it is. What do you do for ensemble playing, Becky?

Bill L.
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Postby Beckywy » Thu May 11, 2006 11:21 pm

I love playing in ensembles. I volunteer at the church down the street accompanying the choir with a drummer, guitarists and a bass player...also, I have a piano duo partner, and we get together to play pieces. Tomorrow will be my jazz debut with my jazz teacher's band. Had my one and only rehearsal with these guys lastnight, and it was absolutely amazing. These musicians have ears as big as elephants. It was a lot of improvisation and these guys followed me wherever I went.

As far as my students go, they play a lot of piano duets, and this year, I've teamed up with a violin teacher and many of them accompany violin students at recitals.
"The real purpose of studying music-to unite ourselves with our special gifts in such a way that one would add strength to the other" Seymour Bernstein
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Postby minorkey » Fri May 12, 2006 7:38 am

Beckywy wrote:...also, I have a piano duo partner, and we get together to play pieces.

As far as my students go, they play a lot of piano duets, and this year, I've teamed up with a violin teacher and many of them accompany violin students at recitals.

Becky (or anyone out there), can you recommend some piano duet pieces that I might be able to play with my nephew (age 17)? He is really into piano- classical and pop- and I think it would be a lot of fun for us to try! Although I would prefer pieces written for 2 pianos vs 2 players at one piano, I know there are practical issues (how often will we be in a room with 2 pianos?). I looked through a local piano dealer's sheet music collection, and the only "duet" material they had was for teacher-student, and was at a very early-stage level.
Are there any duet pieces, either classical or rag-time style, etc. that are more intermediate-level? Thanks in advance- don't know where else turn on this.
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Fri May 12, 2006 8:02 pm

Ravel: "Mother Goose" Suite.
Faure: "Dolly" (six pieces).
Margaret Hubicki: Double Duets (arrangements of a Scarlatti Sonata, a Dance by Purcell and Schubert's "Moment Musical", No. 3).
Mozart: "Eine Kleine Nachtmusick" (arranged four duet).
Mozart: Original Compositions for Piano Duet.
Moskowski: Five Waltzes, Opus 8.
Debussy: "Petite Suite".

Almost all these are of very moderate technical difficulty. The Ravel "Mother Goose" was given its world premier by two seven-year-old twin sisters, for whom he wrote it. It was only later orchestrated.

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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Fri May 12, 2006 8:04 pm

I almost forgot one of the best: Waltzes, Opus 39, by Brahms.
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Postby 108-1121887355 » Fri May 12, 2006 10:06 pm

Once I had two pianos and had some great pieces by Gurlitt. Do not recall the names - maybe could find them on old programs if you don't see any in the music store. I had many pieces, given to me by a former teacher - I wish I could recall them all. I did have one for "Fur Elise" and "The Spinning Song". I will see if I can find the names on old programs. Maybe is you look on line for two piano pieces you could find some. There are some duet books for intermediate too.

Joan
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Postby minorkey » Sat May 13, 2006 6:56 am

Thanks so much! With specific names to search for, it will be much easier to find.
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Sat May 13, 2006 7:14 am

Folks, y'all need to use the Internet more. I just went to Google and typed "piano duets" in the search line; up popped more sites than I could use in a lifetime. Here are a couple:

www.sheetmusic1.com/piano.duets.html
www.jjonline.com (catalog bar on the left; put your mouse over 'keyboard' and click "piano duets" in the sub-menu).

You can find classics like the ones I listed, collections, beginners duets (John Thompson had a volume), show tunes, pop, religious--anything.

Dr. Bill.
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Postby Stretto » Sun May 14, 2006 8:24 am

Dr. Bill Leland wrote:Folks, y'all need to use the Internet more. I just went to Google and typed "piano duets" in the search line; up popped more sites than I could use in a lifetime.

I know, I always forget the vast majority of info. at one's fingertips when I want to learn more about some topic or have a question. I've done a search with other music related topics and found more information than I ever wanted to know. When I was looking for an easy version of Pachabel's Canon that a student requested to learn, I did a search and found a beginner version in a matter of minutes.

I've not played in any ensembles but I do like attending concerts where ensembles are performing with piano involved. It's fun to watch. There was one here of 3 university faculty called the Hawthorne Trio of Cello, viola, and piano and I really enjoyed seeing them perform together. I also have enjoyed the 4 hands with two piano concerts I've attended. I can't imagine trying to compose such pieces!!!

Once for final grade for a composition course I wrote a piece in which the requirement was to write for a non-traditional ensemble and organize the performers for the piece to be performed at a student composers' recital. I wrote a quartet piece for violin, clarinet, bass clarinet, and cello. I got other students to perform the piece. I had a blast calling and organizing the others and being "in charge" at the rehearsals. Prior to that I would have never considered myself being good at or capable of organizing something like that. I learned about myself how much I liked rounding up the performers and organizing rehearsals, etc. It really boosted my confidence level and taught me something about myself I would have probably never realized otherwise.




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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Sun May 14, 2006 8:18 pm

Amazing, isn't it, what we discover we can do when we absolutely have to! Stretto, you should do more of this!

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Postby Mins Music » Wed Aug 02, 2006 9:29 pm

I've not played in any ensembles but I do like attending concerts where ensembles are performing with piano involved. It's fun to watch.


It's absoloutely exhilerating to watch!! Hubby and I just travelled five hours total (21/2 up and back) to see the Brandensburg Concertos being played. We usually stay overnight when we go to the city, but this was a work night and had to get back into things the next day. BUT wow was it worth it. And I spent a little bit of wasted energy during the performance lamenting the fact that I didn't learn the cello when I was younger, because not only is it fun to watch it looks like it would be tremendously rewarding actually DOING it!!!!
So to answer the main threads question, no I've never played with an ensemble. The closest I get is 'jamming' with my other musical friends - but that's pop music. Fun ... but nothing beats classical. Boy I love Bach ....
"I forget what I was taught, I only remember what I've learnt." - Patrick White, Australian novelist.
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Postby Beckywy » Wed Aug 22, 2007 5:41 pm

Just did a gig. A piano quartet was in need of a pianist. Was given 2 weeks to learn the 1st and the 3rd movement of Faure's Piano quartet in C minor, and performed it on Sunday. Talk about insane!!! I was practicing 12 - 14 hours a day learning it.
"The real purpose of studying music-to unite ourselves with our special gifts in such a way that one would add strength to the other" Seymour Bernstein
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Postby Tranquillo » Sun Sep 09, 2007 6:12 am

WOW Beckywy that is intense! 12-14 hours you really worked hard! I wish I could tolerate staying at the piano that long most of the time after a hour my neck would start to hurt! And even so my hands get sore for practicing for ages!

I do play in an ensemble from time to time ... occasionally piano but mainly singing for some reason I am needed there more ... Its so much fun!
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