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Thread: Audition piece

  1. #1
    Senior Member Brad's Avatar
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    Default Audition piece

    Hey guys!

    I have an audition coming up this Winter (I'm planning on majoring in piano performance) and I'm trying to come up with some ideas for one more piece to learn. I'd appreciate some suggestions according to the list of requirements I've made below. Thanks!

    Requirements:
    Composed in 20th/21st century
    Around 2-5 minutes in length
    Not too flashy/quick (I already have a couple of those), rather, more slow and expressive

    Don't worry too much about the difficulty. I'm not saying that I can play everything, I'd just like to keep the suggestions more open. Also it would be a plus if I could find the sheet music on IMSLP.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Varick's Avatar
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    Perhaps Rachmaninoff Prelude # 5 Op.32. I find this a highly expressive and beautiful piece that takes considerable skill to play.

    If you need something a bit newer, I will refer to others here who have more knowledge of keyboard repertoire in the later part of the 20th Century. It is a period of which I am just beginning to explore and have a lot to learn.

    V
    Last edited by Varick; Sep-26-2014 at 03:11.
    Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

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    Senior Member JACE's Avatar
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    How about "The Alcotts" movement from the Charles Ives' Second Piano Sonata, "Concord"?

    You can listen to Ives' own 1943 recording of this piece at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXHjeSamzno

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varick View Post
    Perhaps Rachmaninoff Prelude # 5 Op.32. I find this a highly expressive and beautiful piece that takes considerable skill to play.

    If you need something a bit newer, I will refer to others here who have more knowledge of keyboard repertoire in the later part of the 20th Century. It is a period of which I am just beginning to explore and have a lot to learn.

    V
    I'm going to nip this one in the bud, and with all due respect, of course.

    One should look directly to the institute's requirements, and what to them qualifies as 'modern - contemporary.' More and more, anything at all in the older styles, the more typical configurations, i.e. 'more traditional M.O. of both music and its execution,' is not what they are looking for.

    What they often seek under this category is music written post 1975, where both the musical fabric itself and / or the actual configurations (and score) for the instrument make very different demands on the player (or the few pieces like which may have been written earlier than 1975.) This excludes Rachmaninov, Debussy, Ravel, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, even. (Conversely, currently, Rachmaninov might be enough to fulfill the 'Romantic' requirement.)

    Takemitsu, Messiaen, George Crumb, Ligeti, etc (some are pieces which deploy extended technique,) and any like are more than likely what is being sought.

    But, some places will 'even' countenance Debussy or some of the others I named for that modern requirement -- which is why the potential student should ask, directly, in an inquiry directed to the head of the music department or the piano major's department of the school they are auditioning for.
    Last edited by PetrB; Sep-26-2014 at 11:19.

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    Senior Member Brad's Avatar
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    L
    Quote Originally Posted by Varick View Post
    Perhaps Rachmaninoff Prelude # 5 Op.32. I find this a highly expressive and beautiful piece that takes considerable skill to play.

    If you need something a bit newer, I will refer to others here who have more knowledge of keyboard repertoire in the later part of the 20th Century. It is a period of which I am just beginning to explore and have a lot to learn.

    V
    I really like this prelude! I do, however, agree with PetrB that they are probably asking for something even more modern. I think just to be safe (and different) I'll look for something other than Debussy, Ravel, and Rach. It would be a refreshing thing for me to learn a style that I've, much like you, not really explored much of. Thanks!

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    Senior Member Brad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JACE View Post
    How about "The Alcotts" movement from the Charles Ives' Second Piano Sonata, "Concord"?

    You can listen to Ives' own 1943 recording of this piece at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXHjeSamzno
    This is a great idea, I've never really listened to this one entirely but I know it's great. I don't really listen to/understand Ives' music yet so it would excite me to learn something completely new to me. I'll definitely consider this one.

  10. #7
    Senior Member Brad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetrB View Post

    Takemitsu, Messiaen, George Crumb, Ligeti, etc (some are pieces which deploy extended technique,) and any like are more than likely what is being sought.

    But, some places will 'even' countenance Debussy or some of the others I named for that modern requirement -- which is why the potential student should ask, directly, in an inquiry directed to the head of the music department or the piano major's department of the school they are auditioning for.
    The institution's requirements read "a twentieth or twenty-first-century work of the applicant's choice". I assume they would even accept Debussy, Ravel, Rach etc. but I agree with you in that I should look for something more modern. The problem is I'm not very familiar with much later music.

    Takemitsu, Messiaen, Crumb, and Ligeti sound familiar by name but not by their music. Could you recommend some possible works of theirs in accordance to the requirements? Thanks!

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    Hello, Brad, in the meantime, and just to broaden the spectrum, I would suggest any work from the Cd "Music for 88" by Tom Johnson, for instance this one:

    https://soundcloud.com/rte-lyric-fm-...lers-harmonies

    My suggestion is based on the fact that many of the videos of his Failing on Youtube are recorded at seniors recitals of bass students.
    Last edited by SilverSurfer; Sep-26-2014 at 11:51.

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    Senior Member Varick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetrB View Post
    I'm going to nip this one in the bud, and with all due respect, of course.

    One should look directly to the institute's requirements, and what to them qualifies as 'modern - contemporary.' More and more, anything at all in the older styles, the more typical configurations, i.e. 'more traditional M.O. of both music and its execution,' is not what they are looking for.

    What they often seek under this category is music written post 1975, where both the musical fabric itself and / or the actual configurations (and score) for the instrument make very different demands on the player (or the few pieces like which may have been written earlier than 1975.) This excludes Rachmaninov, Debussy, Ravel, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, even. (Conversely, currently, Rachmaninov might be enough to fulfill the 'Romantic' requirement.)

    Takemitsu, Messiaen, George Crumb, Ligeti, etc (some are pieces which deploy extended technique,) and any like are more than likely what is being sought.

    But, some places will 'even' countenance Debussy or some of the others I named for that modern requirement -- which is why the potential student should ask, directly, in an inquiry directed to the head of the music department or the piano major's department of the school they are auditioning for.
    I thought that this may be the case which is why I added the second paragraph to defer to others here.

    V
    Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varick View Post
    I thought that this may be the case which is why I added the second paragraph to defer to others here.

    V
    You were very clear on that, ergo, the sincere 'with all due respect,of course.'

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    Senior Member dgee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad View Post
    Hey guys!

    I have an audition coming up this Winter (I'm planning on majoring in piano performance) and I'm trying to come up with some ideas for one more piece to learn. I'd appreciate some suggestions according to the list of requirements I've made below. Thanks!

    Requirements:
    Composed in 20th/21st century
    Around 2-5 minutes in length
    Not too flashy/quick (I already have a couple of those), rather, more slow and expressive

    Don't worry too much about the difficulty. I'm not saying that I can play everything, I'd just like to keep the suggestions more open. Also it would be a plus if I could find the sheet music on IMSLP.
    I'm gonna be that boring guy, yet again, that says "don't ask the internet, ask the people who care what you play". Call the contact number and seek some direction - it will give an indication of what the panel wants AND show you're serious about auditioning. Remember - the audition panel want to hear you do your thing and be comfortable and play well. They will sort you out!

    All the best for your audition
    Last edited by dgee; Sep-26-2014 at 14:44.

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    Senior Member Ravndal's Avatar
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    Prokofiev: Pick something from vision fugitives, sarcasms or maybe old grandmother tales.
    "That as s."

    - Mark Twain

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  20. #13
    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Since the parameter is 'wide open' for anything written between the dates you've given, choice then, is yours. The choice itself will say something about you as both pianist and musician! (Uh-oh! :-)
    Please remember that time limit is not exact, but to avoid pieces at all much longer than five minutes:-)

    Toru Takemitsu:
    "Rain Tree Sketch II" (ca. four minutes -- the shorter and more consistently lyrical of the two pieces here mentioned)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=et_H4po9vE0
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTlnL-f6Uzs
    "Piano Distance" (closer to five minutes' length; the piece alternates textural and dynamic contrasts far more than Rain Tree Sketch II)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9A8gQfUlXRI

    David Lang ~ Wed (here, ca. 4'30'')
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuOtLBKscuY

    Claude Debussy ~ Preludes, Book I, no. 6. "Des pas sur la neige." This is music with a very short motif, one of the more abstract of the preludes, all about subtle harmonic shifts and, for piano, a command of highly nuanced tone. As music it is 'very modern' in its approach... ergo, though 'earlier' than those above; not at all a bad choice, since it is very much a different sort of music-making and compositional approach.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3d74QWYg5o

    Another possible route:
    Henry Cowell ~ "The Banshee." Played entirely with the fingers on the harp of a grand piano, an early example of extended technique. Do not even consider this if you do not have a grand to practice it upon, and the (usual) requirement that you play your audition pieces from memory is another factor to take into account.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ND-ga_BrkCE

    I looked into George Crumb's "Makrokosmos," Vol 1, but it is for amplified piano, ergo, later you might want to have a go at some of these. I thought you might like to know of them.
    Not for amplified piano (that I know of), but still requiring a grand with the lid open to access the strings on the piano's harp, is Crumb's very pleasant and sometimes mystical-sounding "A Little Suite For Christmas," a series of relatively short pieces.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bA34Li-6GPI
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ND-ga_BrkCE

    ADD:
    P.s. Do not be at all surprised if during the audition, you are stopped mid-playing, asked to then "Start at measure XX" or simply asked to go to the next piece. This is quite normal. It may more than throw you off, which is why I mention it: Those assessing you are quite expert in getting a very full scope estimate of your technical abilities and your musicianship from very little, so do not attach much meaning to any such interruptions, and be prepared that they might happen -- in order to not throw you off or disconcert in any way.

    ...and of course, 'break a leg.'
    Last edited by PetrB; Sep-27-2014 at 05:07.

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  22. #14
    Senior Member Brad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgee View Post
    I'm gonna be that boring guy, yet again, that says "don't ask the internet, ask the people who care what you play". Call the contact number and seek some direction - it will give an indication of what the panel wants AND show you're serious about auditioning. Remember - the audition panel want to hear you do your thing and be comfortable and play well. They will sort you out!

    All the best for your audition
    I appreciate the advice! I also hope to get in contact with those in the department. I'd like to base my decision upon multiple sources (my teacher, myself, the Internet, and the faculty involved with the audition).

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    Senior Member Brad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ravndal View Post
    Prokofiev: Pick something from vision fugitives, sarcasms or maybe old grandmother tales.
    Takk! I need to explore these. Eventually I want to play his seventh sonata.

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