zygis on Apr 10th, 2009Sergei Rachmaninov Moment Musicaux Op. 16 No. 6 in C major
The last piece in the set, number six, is a quintessential nineteenth-century work, and has been described as an “apotheosis or completion of struggle.” The piece was once summarized as:
The final piece or movement of a cycle that is virtuosic and brilliant, employing the entire range of dynamics and sonorities available to the piano, bringing a set of pieces to a glorious conclusion.
—Robin Hancock, Boston University, 1992
zygis on Apr 8th, 2009Sergei Rachmaninov Moment Musicaux Op. 16 No. 2 E flat minor
The second piece, referred to as a “glittering showpiece”, is positioned in contrast to the lyrical and “atmospheric” melody of the first piece. The piece is in the quick tempo allegretto (quickly), at 92 quarter notes per minute. It is 131 measures long, the most of all six pieces, but the second shortest in terms of playing time, usually no longer than three and a half minutes (the shortest is number four). This piece represents a typical nineteenth-century étude, similar in style to Frédéric Chopin’s Études (Opp. 10, 12), with a melody interspersed between rapid sextuplet figures. It is in strict ternary form with a coda: identical beginning and ending sections beginning on measures 1 and 85, and a contrasting middle section starting on measure 45. The second section radically changes dynamics, constantly changing from piano to fortissimo and even sforzando. It is, throughout, a relentless torrent of descending half steps and a cascading left hand figure reminiscent of Chopin’s Revolutionary Étude (Op. 10, No. 12, 1831). Ending the piece is a slow coda in Adagio (at ease) which closes with a perfect authentic cadence in E-flat major.
zygis on Apr 8th, 2009Sergei Rachmaninov Moment Musicaux Op. 16 No. 1 in B flat minor
The first piece has an andantino (moderate) tempo, is 113 measures long, and is marked at 72 quarter notes per minute. It is divided into three distinct sections. The first presents a theme in common time (4/4) with a typical nocturne figure for the left hand. A mid-piece pause at roughly the same area in Schubert’s first Moments Musicaux further emphasizes the influence of Schubert. The second part is marked con moto (with motion), at 76 quarter notes per minute, and is a variation of the first theme in the unusual configuration of seven quarter notes per measure (7/4). This part ends in a cadenza. The third section presents the last variation of the theme, again in common time, but in the fastest tempo yet, Andantino con moto, at 84 quarter notes per minute. The piece ends in a coda that returns to the first tempo, and repeats portions of the previous three parts. It ends with a perfect authentic cadence into B-flat minor.
zygis on Feb 17th, 2009Frédéric Chopin Prélude Op. 45 C sharp minor
The prelude in C-sharp minor, Op. 45 (sometimes listed as Prelude No. 25), was composed in 1841. It was dedicated to Princess E. Czernicheff, and contains widely extending basses and highly expressive and effective chromatic modulations over a rather uniform thematic basis.
zygis on Feb 17th, 2009Frédéric Chopin Prélude Op. 28 No. 24 D minor
The long last Prelude of the set, No. 24 opens with a thundering five-note pattern in the left hand. Throughout the piece, the left hand continues this pattern as the right hand plays a powerful melody punctuated by trills, scales (including a rapid descending chromatic scale in thirds), and arpeggios. The piece closes with three booming unaccompanied notes– the lowest D on the piano.
zygis on Feb 17th, 2009Frédéric Chopin Prélude Op. 28 No. 23 F major
Prelude No. 23 is spacious and melodic in the left hand, with running semiquavers throughout in the right.
zygis on Feb 17th, 2009Frédéric Chopin Prélude Op. 28 No. 22 G minor
Prelude No. 22, molto agitato, is in 6/8 time; it begins with a characteristic dotted rhythm (quaver, dotted quaver, semiquaver) that Scriabin was later to make his own, in his early preludes that are perhaps the most important to emulate this genre of Chopin’s.
zygis on Feb 17th, 2009Frédéric Chopin Prélude Op. 28 No. 21 B flat major
Prelude No. 21 is marked cantabile, and features an easy melody in the right hand; the left has continuous doubled quavers characterised by chromatic movement, taken up by the right hand also in the latter half of the piece.
zygis on Feb 13th, 2009Frédéric Chopin Nocturne in E flat major Op. 55 No. 2
By Ivo Pogorelić
Nocturne in E flat major Op. No. 2 sheet music