January - Student Page
Links for this issue: Liszt, Lang Lang, Oboe, Variations

Composition Contest
- Deadline March 15

December issue - student page

January Teacher's Guide

Kids' Corner
Past Issues

Franz Liszt

Born: 1811 - Died: 1886

Liszt and Paganini

Franz Liszt was very impressed by the violin playing of Niccolo Paganini and wanted to play the piano as well as Paganini played the violin. He also admired his compositions especially his violin etudes called caprices. They are considered as some of the most difficult violin pieces. Inspired by their dazzling effects, Liszt transcribed some of them for the piano, calling them the Grandes etudes de Paganini. (Liszt's Etude 1 is based on Paganini's Carpices No. 5 and 6; Etude No. 2 on Caprice No. 17; Etude No. 3 on the Violin Concerto No. 2; No. 4 on Caprice No. 1; Etude No. 5 on Caprice No. 9; Etude No. 6 on Caprice No. 24.)

Listen to the following pieces to hear how Paganini's music first impressed and then inspired young Liszt.

Paganini's Compositions:

Caprice #1 - listen to these fast notes and you can see why audiences were so amazed when they heard Paganini play.

Caprice #6


Caprice #24 with the great violinist Jascha Heifetz

Violin Concerto:

Liszt's Music:

Preludio and Etude 1, 2 - Andre Watts

Etudes 3 and 4 (3 is based on Paganini's violin concerto)

Etudes 5 and 6  with Andre Watts


Lang Lang

Listen to Lang Lang play Franz Liszt's La Campanella (he begins playing around 1:20 of the video)


Here he plays Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody #2


Playing Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue with Herbie Hancock


Just for fun! Here he plays Flight of the Bumblebee on an iPad!



Listen to this Oboe Trio playing Beethoven. What do you notice about the sound of the oboe?


This student is playing a song by Bach you may be familiar with on piano.


Peter and the Wolf - the oboe plays the part of the Duck in this musical story. Go to minute 5'30" to hear the oboe, then sit back and listen to this fun performance by a student orchestra.


Part 2:



Theme and Variations

Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 12 in Ab major:  This work begins with a slow movement in a theme and variation form. Listen to the music and notice what happens at various point following this guide:

Theme - listen to the beautiful, flowing melody that will be used in the different variations. Try singing it to get to know it really well. You will then be able to recognize it hidden in the variations.
Variation 1 starts at 1'29" - It uses lots of arpeggios. The harmonies used are the same as in the theme.
Variation 2 starts at 2'54" - Melody starts in left hand in octaves and the right hand has chords on off-beats.
Variation 3 starts at 3'44" -This time the melody is in a minor key.
Variation 4 starts at 5'34" - It uses a fun rhythm with tied notes and some staccato chords. Listen to frequent changes of register, from high to low, back to high.
Variation 5 starts at 6'43" - Triplet sixteenth notes start this variation gently. Listen to how Beethoven starts adding layers. The variation ends peacefully again.



Mozart - Twinkle Variations - "Ah, vous dirai-je, maman" It is easy to hear the different variations in this piece.



Young People's Guide to the Orchestra by Britten:
This work introduces the listener to the instruments of the orchestra by passing a theme from one instrument to another. The speed changes from section to section - some are fast and some are slow. As you listen notice which instrument is featured.

Part 1


Part 2



We'd love to hear from you!
Do you have any ideas or thoughts about any other practice tip we have published this year? Let us know how they worked for you. Were you able to solve a problem spot or learn a tricky passage?

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