1) F. Chopin, "Aeolian Harp" Etude op. 25 no. 1
An etude (French word for "study") is written to focus on specific technical challenges. Chopin was a composer who elevated the etude from an exercise to a piece fit for the concert stage! Some became so popular they were given nicknames but "Aeolian Harp" does not come from the composer himself.
- What technical challenges do you think this etude focuses on? (Hint: watch the version with the music notes)
- How would you describe the mood of this piece? What feelings does it give you?
2) Rimsky-Korsakov - Flight of the Bumblebee
This is a popular piece you may have heard before - as the title suggests, it's a whirlwhind of notes that are to evoke the buzzing of bees. The first link is of a "simple" arrangement by S. Rachmaninoff. The second link is like a whole swarm of angry bees by Georges Cziffra, played by Yuja Wang.
- Which version did you prefer and why?
- What kind of unique scale does this piece use?
I had the pleasure of meeting pianist, Yuja Wang (October 2015) at the Bella Concert Hall after a thrilling performance with 5 encores.