Friday, March 27, 2009

Piano Hero Blooper and a Hectic Hoedown

Here's just a bit of video from Wednesday's Billy the Kid Piano Anti-Hero recital. I don't know if Billy the Kid really qualifies as a classic anti-hero, but who can resist a good title? Anyway, this music really was a delight to play on the piano, and the audience seemed to enjoy it as well. It's such straightforward, uncomplicated music, and yet so artfully written. 

I think the laid-back cowboy tunes also maybe helped this week's event feel a bit more informal, even if a brawl never managed to break out in the audience. A student came up right before we started and offered me his cowboy hat. How could I refuse? The hat stole the show at the end, as you can see in the video. Unfortunately, the audio didn't capture Nathan's improvised wind-across-the-plain noises that he delivered while I was playing those open prairie open fifths that start the piece.

I've also included our complete performance of the "Hoedown" from Rodeo, but since it was filled with, uh, improvisational, spur-of-the-moment excitement, I decided I'd add a little artificial tempo enhancement to the video - maybe all the wrong notes that flew out of my fingers won't be quite so obvious this way. (If you enjoy hearing that, you might want to revisit my old Amphetepollini post.)

I had so much fun playing the "Hoedown" that I decided on the spot that we should play it again - which turned out to be a really bad idea! I think with sightreading, the whole "your first guess is your best one" test-taking rule applies. I hoped to fix everything I'd just bungled, but I was so tired that my fingers felt like they were glued together. However, I am quite glad that we took the time to play the "Saturday Night Waltz" before the "Hoedown." That is one beautiful piece, maybe my favorite-ever Copland. 

No Piano Hero next week, since I've got an Opera Scenes program to survive, but Level Five on April 8 promises to be a lot of fun...

Also see video samples from: Level Two and Level Three.

1 comment:

Patty said...

Very fun!

Hoedown is one of those pieces that makes this oboe player groan. Those low notes, tongued so fast? Not easy.

What a cool thing you do there! :-)