Köhler: 22 Etudes d’expression, Op. 89 – No. 2

Time for another Etude of the Week post! Here’s Köhler No. 2 in A minor, recorded in one take because it was too hot to keep the fan turned off for any further attempts.

There are definitely a few spots I would have liked to play more cleanly, and some spots where the intonation is a little suspicious. There are a lot of dynamic contrasts written into this one, and I felt like I was doing a pretty good job observing them, but they’re not apparent on this recording. Most of my recordings are done using an iPhone, but I have a nicer Zoom H2 recorder that I think I need to start using again. I also need to dig out the foot pedal so I don’t have pause at the page turn- fortunately in this etude it was already in a decent spot for a small break!

I hope to be back tomorrow for another Andersen etude! Happy Friday!

Köhler: Etudes d’expression Op. 89 – No. 1

It’s time to start a new book in the Etude of the Week group! This time the group voted for Ernesto Köhler’s Etudes d’Expression Op. 89, which was a book I hadn’t heard of. If the rest of it is anything like this first etude, it’s going to be a lot of fun!

As it says in the title, these studies are all about expression, so it was fun to play with different characters. There are lots of opportunities for dynamic contrast, but between the quality of my iPhone recording and the sound of the washing machine upstairs, I’m not sure how well that translated in this recording. One thing I noticed while practicing this was a tendency to use my vibrato to subdivide, so I’d like to work on varying its speed and making it feel more organic.

See you soon for more of the Andersen etudes!

Book Finish! Donjon: Etudes de Salon – No. 8 Le Tambour

With this etude, I’ve finished my first book since starting this project! Because of everything going on this week, my focus and practicing weren’t great, so this recording definitely has things I’d like to improve. When I’m not playing as much, the first thing to go is my flexibility and that’s a really big deal in this etude, much like all the others in this book. I would have liked to do more with dynamics since this one is so repetitive, but for now this has to be good enough.

Final reflections on Donjon’s Etudes de Salon:

  • Date started: April 17, 2020 (before this blog was born!)
  • Date completed: June 7, 2020
  • Favorite etude: No. 7 Le Follet
  • Most challenging etude: No. 5 Gigue

See you tomorrow for some Moyse!

Moyse & Donjon Double Header!

I was feeling good during today’s recording, so you get two etudes today! First up, from Moyse 24 Petites Études Mélodiques, here’s Number 16:

This one is a great low register exercise (students: it’s about aim, not force!) especially for the double tonguing variation. It kind of feels like playing Chant de Linos but less fun- I’m glad to be done untangling all the A sharps in this one! It was a great articulation warm up for this week’s Etude of the Week, Donjon No. 7 Le Follet:

Thanks for listening, and see you tomorrow!

Donjon: Etudes de Salon – No. 5 Gigue

Once again, I’ve submitted my Etude of the Week video just before the deadline. I’ll be honest, this one did not get a lot of practice time this week. It’s a lot of fun so I’ll probably revisit it eventually and try to clean up all the leaps- tons of cracked notes in this one! This is why you do a good warm up and not procrastinate on your etude videos, friends.

Back to Moyse tomorrow, have a great week!

Donjon: Etudes de Salon – No. 4 Volubile

Hey students- you know how I’m always going on about how we should aim for beautiful, accurate musicianship but how we also live in reality and have to practice how to make mistakes nicely? Yeah, this recording is that second thing.

Some nights you sleep on your shoulder funny and it makes your left hand feel weird. Some days you take shortcuts when you warm up because it’s warm and the flute is slippery. Some days are just bad flute days and today was one of them.

Bad flute day or not, this was the day I needed to record my Etude of the Week. When all the bad flute stuff happens, sometimes you just have to live with what comes out. Overall this was probably not my worst performance ever, but I will be happy to try this one again on a better day.

See you soon for more Moyse!

Donjon: Etudes de Salon – No. 3 Le Chant du Vent

Happy Sunday! Once again I’ve recorded my Etude of the Week submission on the very last day of the week- here’s Donjon No. 3, Le Chant du Vent:

This set of etudes is new to me, but with each one I play I like them more and more. I’d love to put a few of these on a recital some day! This one, however, caused me more trouble with practicing and recording than the previous two. I’ve been lucky so far in my playing career that I haven’t had any significant trouble with my hands and arms, but something about this particular etude was causing me to feel a lot of tension in my hands. Maybe more Ab Major scales and arpeggios are in my future so I can figure out where I’m going wrong!

See you tomorrow when I go back to the Moyse etudes!

Moyse: 24 Petites Études Mélodiques – No. 2

Hello again! It’s been a quiet weekend around these parts, but since I have two etudes for you today my neighbors might disagree with that.

I’ve moved on to No. 2 from Moyse’s 24 Petites Études Mélodiques. While this one presents about the same level of technical challenge as No. 1, it also provides similar opportunities to focus on tone, intonation, and beautiful interval leaps. I’m enjoying playing these etudes at the end of my warm up to check in with how I’m doing with the expressive elements of my playing each day.

Focusing on the larger intervals in this one has been good preparation for this week’s Etude of the Week assignment. We’re working through the Donjon Etudes de Salon and I’m really enjoying getting to know this new-to-me book. Today is the end of Week 2- Serenade so it’s time to stop trying to perfect it and just turn in my homework. Last week’s etude (Elegie) was much flashier, but in a lot of ways I find this one more challenging. Those leaps! Those high notes! Those (hopefully) beautiful pianissimo note endings!

Thanks for listening!