June 22 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (Serenade No. 13 for strings in G major), K. 525, is a 1787 composition for a chamber ensemble by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The German title means “a little serenade”, though it is often rendered more literally but less accurately as “a little night music.” The work is written for an ensemble of two violins, viola, and cello with optional double bass but is often performed by string orchestras and there are many arrangements for other instruments as we will see below.

Part of a full orchestral score:

 

Follow the score…

Easy piano sheet music might look like this:

 

The first movement of Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, with a graphical score.

 

One of my favorites, Barbershop-Style.  Eine Kleine Not Musik by the Gas Houe Gang tells the story of The Magic Flute (from June 19) to the music of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.

 

A piano transcription

For four recorders, all played by the same person

From the Muppets: The Great Gonzo performing Eine Kleine Nachtmusik on bagpipe while sitting on a ten-foot pole!

 

When my son and I played Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Mozart arranged for 2 pianos November 30, 2014 we were the last people to play in the old Steinway Hall.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have a good video camera 😦

2014-08-10 12.49.02 2014-08-09 12.20.39 2014-08-09 12.16.45 2014-08-09 12.15.17

 

Find this arranged for piano in Piano Pronto: Movement 2, Movement 3, Encore, Coda and Mozart: Exploring His Life and Music,

June 20 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

 

Today’s piece is one of those that piano students often try to learn on their own – or a friend will teach them the first 9 notes.  It’s usually played too fast and, often in the wrong octave, or the first couple notes are repeated too many times.

This is one of two pieces that are so often played incorrectly that they have the distinction of being banned from competition in Northern Virginia Piano Teacher competitions.

Stay tuned for the other one!

Fur Elise was not published during Beethoven’s lifetime, having been discovered by Ludwig Nohl 40 years after the composer’s death. The identity of “Elise” is unknown.

The very basic melody:

 

 

The actual beginning is a little more involved.

 

And, there’s more!

 

If you’d like to learn to play this piece correctly, find the sheet music at IMSLP, Beethoven: Exploring His Life and Music, and countless compilations of classical music available at the O’Connor Music Studio.

Follow along:

By Valentina Lisitsa:

 

Ragtime!

 

A variety of instruments (Piano, Guitar, Cat Piano, Cello, Launchpad, Ukulele)

 

The Big Piano at FAO Schwartz in NYC:

 

Glass harp:

 

Youtube has many, many more versions.  Beethoven would probably go nuts!

June 19 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

 

‘The Magic Flute’ (German name: Die Zauberflöteis Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s final opera, and it contains one of the most well-known arias in music. But what is ‘The Magic Flute’ all about?

 

An animated version:

Played as a piano/organ duo:

 

Arranged by Ferruccio Busoni for 2 pianos:

 

Why Mozart’s Magic Flute is a masterpiece – an introduction (The Royal Opera)

 

The accordion version:

Find this in Piano Pronto: Movement 3, Encore, Mozart: Exploring His Life and Music

June 18 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

 

 

Today’s assignment is a very popular piece by Johann Pachelbel called Canon in D.

A canon is a technique that employs a melody with one or more imitations of the melody played after a given duration (e.g., quarter rest, one measure, etc.). The initial melody is called the leader, while the imitative melody, which is played in a different voice, is called the follower. The follower must imitate the leader, either as an exact replication of its rhythms and intervals or some transformation thereof. Repeating canons in which all voices are musically identical are called rounds—”Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and “Frère Jacques” are popular examples.

The original version:

 

 

Can you see why the cellist is bored?

Here’s what his music looks like

And that repeats over and over for the whole piece!

A bit of humor from a past cellist:

Variations on the theme:

 

Find it in Piano Pronto Finale and Coda

June 16 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

 

“Ode to Joy” was written in the summer of 1785 by German poet, playwright, and historian Friedrich Schiller and published the following year in Thalia. A slightly revised version appeared in 1808, changing two lines of the first and omitting the last stanza.

“Ode to Joy” is best known for its use by Ludwig van Beethoven in the final (fourth) movement of his Ninth Symphony, completed in 1824. This was Beethoven’s final symphony and lasts over an hour for the whole thing.

The entire final movement:

Beethoven’s text is not based entirely on Schiller’s poem, and introduces a few new sections. His melody (but not Schiller’s words) was adopted as the Anthem of Europe by the Council of Europe in 1972 and subsequently by the European Union.

 

It is often called Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee (You) in hymbooks.

 

Find Ode to Joy in Piano Maestro, Prelude, Beethoven: Exploring His Life and Music and several hym books.

By now, you know I love flashmobs:

 

And Muppets (note the metronome going wild!):

And Barbershop:

 

An animated score:

 

Boomwhackers:

 

The Piano Guys combined Ode to Joy with Joy to the World for a new Christmas arrangement:

 

As the European Anthem:

 

And, finally Joyful, Joyful we Adore Thee by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Do a search on youtube – lots and lots of people have played this famous Beethoven melody.

 

June 15 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

liszt-hungarian

Today’s assignment is Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in C-sharp minor. It is the second in a set of 19 Hungarian Rhapsodies by composer Franz Liszt, and is by far the most famous of the set.

In both the original piano solo form and in the orchestrated version this composition has enjoyed widespread use in animated cartoons. Its themes have also served as the basis of several popular songs.

Above, Danish comedian and pianist Victor Borge gives every impression of having been asked to play a duet with someone whom he not only doesn’t know but doesn’t particularly like. Forced to come up with a mutually agreeable way of sharing the musical workload, he settles on the most difficult route possible.

It’s not clear why two pianists were needed for this performance of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No.2, S.244/2.  I think that they did it just for the fun of it.  The result is hilarious.

They’re not the only ones to tackle Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No.2 as a piano duo.

We also have these guys:

 

The “history” of this piece in several cartoons:

This is very interesting:

As he often did, Horowitz arranged it more for his liking:

 

Finally, for real: