New [to me] sheet music (3)

I found myself myself in a secondhand bookstore today looking at their sheet music collection. It was…disappointing in a way but exhilarating that two second hand bookshops in Brussels have sheet music. Today, you were quids in if you played the violin, the electric organ or the clarinet. Actually I assume that if you play the clarinet, it must be quite wonderful to fall over the odd bit of clarinet music anywhere, nevermind a shop more used to selling fiction and comic strips.

Anyway, times were thin on the piano music but I picked up two pieces, one being a duplicate (of more anon) and the other being by Guastavino whose music I had to order specially lately (I haven’t started the piece yet). He is not yet out of copyright but is difficultly in print. I’m not sure what this will be like but I bought it anyway.

New to me Sheet Music
Bailecito by Carlos Guastavino

What struck me about it was that each page was stamped with what looks like a publisher’s mark.

Anyway. I have it.

As a teenager, aside from Rach II, a couple of pieces of cinema music seared through my mind, one of which was Richard Adinsell’s Warsaw Concerto from the movie Dangerous Moonlight. As I mostly found classical music through figure skating at that time, I assume that’s where I picked that up from. Anyway, we found a recording, probably on Naxos at some point, but the sheet music eluded me for years and years and years and years. In fact, I only picked a new copy of it sometime in the last 2 years since Pointe d’Orgue became known to me (one of the two sheet music shops that I trust in Brussels. I ordered the Guastivino mentioned above from the other, Brauer. I know them both. Anyway, Pointe d’Orgue had the Adinsell so after a near 25 year search I had it in my hands.

One of the fascinating things for me with orchestral piano music is that you can get lots of it and it all has an accompaniment for a second piano or is a reduction for 2 pianos. So the Hummel I picked up last week was a bit of a novelty. Anyway, today’s haul includes Warsaw Concerto, or more specifically, Concerto de Varsovie, solo piano.

New to me Sheet Music
Warsaw Concerto, French publication, Richard Adinsell

If you’re looking for a good recording of it, I’m inclined to suggest Jean Yves Thibaudet. You can have a listen on Youtube here.

Jean Yves Thibaudet pushing out into the dead of night

Actually, I went looking for a trailer for the film Dangerous Moonlight which I have never seen and instead, I found this. The music is very clearly the star and yet, it’s completely different to any recording I have ever heard of it.

If you want to read more about the movie, you can find it here.

Anyway, they cost almost nothing. The total I spent in the shop was 5 euro 50 cents and in addition to the sheet music there was a kids book and a how to draw ballet dancers book.

When I got home I went to my “keep these safe” documents where I thought there was a copy of the piano solo of the Legend of the Glass Mountain by Nina Rota. Apparently I have put it somewhere even safer.

This is something I’ve been looking for almost as long; and I found a copy of it in the Sheet Music Library in the Central Library in Dublin about 30 years ago having searched for a while for it. No dice but I seemed to acquire a photocopy of it. I never got around to learning it but it’s still on my TBL list. I see a copy of it on eBay though which will post to Belgium so I am going to rectify that.

I’m interested in second hand sheet music sources. Point me at them.

New sheet music

I went on a shopping spree today. I wanted to buy the Goldberg Variations – one of the things that Vikingur Olafsson succeeded in making me do was decide I wanted to learn some of them, with what time I don’t actually know but hey, I can read them anyway. I also wanted to buy Un Sospiro by Liszt – I’ve seen a couple of videos of people trying to learn them lately and I realised it is a truly lovely piece (I must have heard some serious butchering as well. In fact, I have a shopping list of music I want to buy for which I don’t have the time to learn, I’m struggling with my current set pieces and also, there’s a monumental amount of other stuff going on.

So I walked to the shop, and spent money. They had one copy of Goldberg (it’s probably popular at the moment for one reason or another).

More sheet music
A pretty blue book of Bach music.

And I found one copy of the Three Concert Etudes which gave me Un Sospiro. I don’t expect to touch this for a while, but hey, it merits reading and occasional experimentation.

More sheet music
Mount Liszt

I came across a video of Helene Grimaud, aged about 18 years ago (so recorded on 4:3 TV back in the day) rehearsing the piano part of Schuman’s first violin sonata. I liked it and while I have no handy violinist, I still wanted to learn some of it. They had it, past tense because now I have it.

More sheet music
An essential ingredient is lacking but so what.

They also had some Barenreiter anniversary specials – both they and Henle seem to be celebrating birthdays at the moment – so I picked up their collection of selected Brahms pieces.

More sheet music
I like Brahms, don’t you

I tend to pick up collections like this for “sight reading practice” which usually turns into “oh this is a nice Waltz or other, I should actually learn it rather than butchering it for 10 minutes”. We will see how it goes.

A few weeks ago, I found a shop selling second hand sheet music and had a flick through it and found one single solitary copy of the Hummel piano concertos for solo piano. I haven’t examined it in detail, but I assume it is just the piano part and if I want to play it with an orchestra, I’m on my own babe. But it is a thing of beauty.

More sheet music
Elitist secret music

I mean, isn’t the engraving gorgeous? I have one copy of Solveig’s Song which is recent but also beautiful. Oh I know the Henle blue covers are classy and stylish and all that, but seriously, some of the older designs are just more…beautiful. I could almost frame either of them (and since I somehow have two copies of Solveig’s, I actually could frame that one).

Anyway, since I bought the Rameau a while back I’ve not actually worked on learning stuff. I just blew my mind on stuff I already knew or arranged myself when testing the piano emulation software last week. Need to get back to work.

Music of my childhood

RIAM Books of the mid1980s
Music books of my childhood

I was looking for a piece of music I learned to play when I was about 11 or 12 and I knew some of the exam books I used at the time were still at home. I even knew when where they were. The piece of music was a Sonatina and some research around exam organisations didn’t turn up anything when I searched IMSLP. So the piece was in the grade 2 book. It was a Sonatina in G by Thomas Attwood. You can find the music here (youtube sorry). I’m also interested in a Sonatine piece that was on the Grade III book.

Here’s what was in those books

  • Sonatina in G – Attwood
  • A Little Song – Kabelevsky
  • Mazurka – Berkovich
  • Sonatine (2nd movement) Haslinger
  • Dolly’s Complaint – Franck
  • Serenade Andalouse – Poot
  • Sonatine (2nd movement) – Pleyel
  • Pentatonic Tune – Bartók
  • First Loss = Schumann
  • Sonatina – Hook
  • A Little Song – Khachaturian
  • Gay Story – Shostakovich
  • Sonatine – Dussek
  • Bagatelle – Beethoven (A flat)
  • Knight Errant – Furze
  • Sonata in C – Mozart
  • Novelette – Khabalevsky
  • Tuesday’s Child – Bennett

Looking at the list, what strikes me is that Khabalevsky turned up a couple of times.

I’m reasonably sure that I did Grade 5 as well but the book was nowhere to be found, I don’t remember what colour the cover was but I am reasonably sure that Fur Elise was on the list. If anyone from the RIAM from nearly 40 years is still knocking around, I’d be interested to know.

Gounod’s piano music

I was looking for some choral music today, a piece out of Mors et Vita which I have already loved. Unfortunately I find it hard to find stuff on Google Music sometimes and a search brought up a load of Faust but no Mors et Vita. There aren’t too many recordings of the choral version of it lying around although an orchestra transcription pops up now and again. This is what I was looking for:

It is a great recording. Well worth buying. Michel Plasson did some great stuff with Gounod – I think it’s his recording of Faust I have too. Anyway the choir kicks in after about 2 minutes. Absolutely great stuff. I know this is a piano blog but seriously, you need to have an open mind.

However, Google did reveal that there was a new album of piano music by Gounod lying around, by Roberto Prosseda. I’ve been listening to it since I switched away from the Pearlfishers by Bizet this evening and I have to say it is gorgeous. From the opening La Veneziana, to the variations on Bach’s Ave Maria.

I’m not sure what sort of piano they used for the recording Prosseda seems to use some historic instruments and this has very much the feel of una corda. In particularly, I like this piece here:

It’s the opening track on the album and rather gorgeous. I’m tempted to go looking for it. ETA: Sheet music is here.


Rachmaninoff’s second piano concerto

Mostly, if you ask me what my favourite piece of piano music is, I will most likely answer Rach 2. It’s a wonderful piece of music and I love it. No matter how bad things are the second movement will give solace to my soul. The opening chords are extraordinary, and my hands are unable to play all of them. The arrival of the orchestra changes the colour of the world. There is no other piece of music quite like this, not even any of Rachmaninoff’s other works although the Rhapsody comes close.

This is my piano site. It has had a hard birth but it is here now. I intend to use it as an honest broker in my new world of piano.