On Cortot exercises and Grieg competitions

May 1, 2016

About two months ago, it suddenly and mysteriously became very important to me that I could play Chopin's Black Key study very well.

 

By this time, I had of course already read things by and on Mr. Alfred Cortot, but I hadn't actually seriously done any of his exercises. For those of you who don't know him: Mr. Cortot is described on wikipedia as "renowned for his poetic insight in the Romantic period" and by pianists in general as "the writer of the evil exercises of doom and potential tendonitis when played too enthusiastically". 

I had played through some once or twice, reacted either with "meh, don't feel like it" or "ow, too hard", and left it at that.

 

Yes, I know. I'll go and stand in a corner and feel ashamed of myself momentarily.

 

In any case, the Cortot exercises were almost religiously heeded over the last several weeks, and I can heartily recommend them to anyone who needs to get a study under control in a hurry. I myself have become somewhat of a freak, also having started on the "regular" studies and being very very extra careful to avoid any tendonitis. 

 

But why this sudden interest in Chopin studies?

 

Because a virtuosic etude is a requirement for the qualification round of the Grieg competition, and I wanted to save La Leggierezza for the first round.

 

Ho yus, as you can see in the picture above, last Friday I have been recording the qualification round to the Grieg competition.

Some pacing and cursing was involved, of course, because every separate piece was to be recorded in one take, but honestly - I think I've acquitted myself creditably.

 

Whether Norway agrees with that, I shall find out around the 15th of May.

 

The pieces I've recorded are the following:

L.v. Beethoven; sonata op. 14 no. 2 "Allegro"

F. Chopin: etude op. 10 no. 5 "Black Keys"

F. Mendelssohn: "Rondo Capriccioso"

E. Grieg: Lyrisch Stück op. 57 no. 6 "Hjemve"

R.Wagner / F. Liszt: "Isoldens Liebestod"

 

The recording I've made, meanwhile, is on YouTube and can be scrutinized here:

And now I think I will go to sleep. 

 

Sadly only for a few hours, because All Rise is around the corner...

 

 

 

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