It’s been an interesting week, friends. However, while all of us have ups and downs, music is always there to offer love and support. So this week I’d like to share with you some of my favorite pieces written for piano.
Chopin Nocturne in E Major, Op. 62 No. 2
Published in 1846, the two nocturnes in Op. 62 were some of Chopin’s final works before he died three years later. What I love about this particular nocturne is its journey. The piece begins with a simple yet nostalgic theme that changes and evolves through a turbulent contrapuntal section. Read more about nocturnes here.
Also, this video is me! I played this Chopin nocturne in my senior piano recital at Oregon State University in May, 2016.
Skovstilhed (“Woodland Peace”), Op. 71 No. 4 by Grieg
Throughout his lifetime, Norwegian pianist and composer Edvard Grieg wrote a collection of 66 short piano works that he published in 10 volumes. “Woodland Peace” was composed and published in 1901 as part of Book 10. I love how light and free this work is; it really does bring peace as it tells the story of nature and life.
Rachmaninoff Prelude in B-flat Major, Op. 23 No. 2
While Rachmaninoff is known for his beautifully sad works, I wanted to share one his more cheerful pieces today. This virtuosic prelude contrasts a thundering left hand pattern against a somewhat irregular right hand melody. It’s triumphant and beautiful.
Arabesque No. 1 by Debussy
And to finish this post, we have a little Debussy. He composed Deux Arabesques (“Two Arabesques”) sometime between 1888 and 1891, drawing inspiration from the Baroque arabesque dance genre (read more here). Debussy uses polyrhythm: a technique with two or more different rhythmic ideas played at the same time. The left hand has running eighth notes while the right hand features a triplet motif (around 0:23 in the video). Its continuously flowing lines remind me a little bit of water, which fits so well with Grieg’s “Woodland Peace”.
What are your favorite piano pieces?