Daily Listening Assignments ~ June 21, 2021

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 House 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.

Daily Listening Assignments ~ June 20, 2021

 

Today’s listening assignment is  Can-can from “Orpheus in the Underworld” by Jacques Offenbach.  This piece is very often in early method books because of the descending C Major scale.  Can you find it?

The can-can (or cancan as in the original French) is a high-energy, physically demanding dance that became a popular music hall dance in the 1840s, continuing in popularity in French cabaret to this day. Originally danced by both sexes, it is now traditionally associated with a chorus line of female dancers. The main features of the dance are the vigorous manipulation of skirts and petticoats, along with high kicks, splits, and cartwheels.

Many composers have written music for the cancan. Today’s selection is the most famous of these.

A ‘follow-along” video.  This key has 6 flats, so the scale will be in what key?

 

Flute ensemble:

The original, for full orchestra

An animation

 

A dog barking the can-can?

 

Find this in many student books including Piano Pronto: Movement 1

Have you ever noticed the rug by the piano?

 

Daily Listening Assignments ~ June 19, 2021

 

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!

Für 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!

 

 

 

The Big Piano at FAO Schwartz in NYC:

 

Glass harp:

 

The Mystery Behind Für Elise:

 

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

Daily Listening Assignments ~ June 18, 2021

 

‘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

Daily Listening Assignments ~ June 17, 2021

 

 

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

Daily Listening Assignments ~ June 16, 2020

 

“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 hymnbooks.

 

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.

 

Daily Listening Assignments ~ June 13, 2021

 

 

Today’s piece is slow and easy-going.  The name “Largo” itself means slow.  Antonin Dvorák wrote this as a part of his Symphony No. 9 in E minor, also known as From the New World, Op. 95, B. 178, or just the New World Symphony.

Popularly known as the New World Symphony, it was composed in 1893 while Dvořák was the director of the National Conservatory of Music. It is by far his most popular symphony, and one of the most popular of all symphonies. In older literature and recordings, this symphony was often numbered as Symphony No. 5.

Astronaut Neil Armstrong took a tape recording of the New World Symphony along during the Apollo 11 mission, the first Moon landing, in 1969.

Find Largo in Keyboard Kickoff, Prelude (it’s called River  Road),  Movement 2 and Piano Maestro

 

 

And orchestra

The theme from the Largo was adapted into the spiritual-like song “Goin’ Home”, often mistakenly considered a folk song or traditional spiritual, by Dvořák’s pupil William Arms Fisher, who wrote the lyrics in 1922.

.

Pipe Organ

Recorder

 

And sung

 

Whenever I think of slow things, I’m reminded of this clip from the old TV Show, Taxi

 

So, since today is Saturday…

Daily Listening Assignments ~ June 12, 2021

 

Since we had the Bridal Chorus a couple days ago, it’s time to march the bride and groom back up the aisle with the Wedding March by Felix Mendelssohn.

This Wedding March comes from Mendelssohn’s incidental music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It became customary to play this at marriage ceremonies from about the mid 19th Century, and particularly after the daughter (also called Victoria) of Queen Victoria chose the piece for her own wedding in 1858.

Notice all the triplets (3)!  If you don’t know what they are, be sure to ask at your next lesson.

Find this in Movement 2 and Piano Maestro.

Franz Liszt and Vladimir Horowitz added some variations

On an organ

An organist who needed a bit more practice

With an orchestra

See you tomorrow!

 

Daily Listening Assignments ~ June 11, 2021

 

Since we had the Bridal Chorus a couple days ago, it’s time to march the bride and groom back up the aisle with the Wedding March by Felix Mendelssohn.

This Wedding March comes from Mendelssohn’s incidental music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It became customary to play this at marriage ceremonies from about the mid 19th Century, and particularly after the daughter (also called Victoria) of Queen Victoria chose the piece for her own wedding in 1858.

Notice all the triplets (3)!  If you don’t know what they are, be sure to ask at your next lesson.

Find this in Movement 2 and Piano Maestro.

Franz Liszt and Vladimir Horowitz added some variations

On an organ

An organist who needed a bit more practice

With an orchestra

See you tomorrow!

 

Daily Listening Assignments ~ June 9, 2021

 

Joseph Haydn’s music contains many jokes, and the Surprise Symphony includes probably the most famous of all: a sudden very loud (fortissimo chord) at the end of the otherwise soft (piano) opening theme in the variation-form second movement. The music then returns to its original quiet dynamic, as if nothing had happened, and the ensuing variations do not repeat the joke. (In German it is commonly referred to as the Symphony “mit dem Paukenschlag”—”with the kettledrum stroke”).

In Haydn’s old age, his biographer George August Griesinger asked him whether he wrote this “surprise” to awaken the audience. Haydn replied:

No, but I was interested in surprising the public with something new, and in making a brilliant debut, so that my student Pleyel, who was at that time engaged by an orchestra in London (in 1792) and whose concerts had opened a week before mine, should not outdo me. The first Allegro of my symphony had already met with countless Bravos, but the enthusiasm reached its highest peak at the Andante with the Drum Stroke. Encore! Encore! sounded in every throat, and Pleyel himself complimented me on my idea.

The first time I saw this video during a piano lesson, both my students and I were surprised, too!

 

The melody is pretty basic and sometimes used to teach skips. I remember having it in one of my first books with words similar to See the Happy Little Frog, Hopping now from Log to Log.

Here’s a piano version.

Can you find the “surprise” indicated by the sforzando?  Hint.  It looks like this: Sforzando is one of those Italian words you get to learn in music and means a strong, sudden accent on a note or chord. Sforzando literally means subito forzando (fz), which translates to “suddenly with force.”

 

There’s some information about Haydn and this symphony in this video.

and this one

Beethoven’s Wig added some words

For 2 pianos, 8 hands.  They’ve added their own surprise around minute 3.

 

Have a surprisingly nice day!