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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.
Listen to the following pieces to hear how Paganini's music first
impressed and then inspired young Liszt.
Caprice #1 - listen to these fast notes and you can see why audiences
were so amazed when they heard Paganini play.
Caprice #24 with the great violinist Jascha Heifetz
Preludio and Etude 1, 2 - Andre Watts
3 and 4 (3 is based on Paganini's violin concerto)
5 and 6 with Andre Watts
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.
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
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
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
Perhaps you have your own practice tips that you'd like to
share with other readers. Write to us and we'll include the
best ones in the magazine or on the website.
We also accept original artwork, music, poems, jokes and
stories. Submissions that don't appear in the magazine might
make it into the Kids Corner.
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