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22 May 2019

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ABRSM Piano 2019/20 Grade 8 C5 - MusicOnline UK Teaching Notes


Serge Rachmaninoff

Grade 8 Piano ABRSM 2019/2020 C5

The above video and following teaching notes are done in collaboration with Nourskean1039 (Check out their channel HERE)

Teaching Notes

First I think it is very important to  be conscious  that Rachmaninov is not Chopin, so not to be played in the style of Chopin. 

The 3 first bars have a different signification each one. 
  • The first bar is to introduce the piece. 
  • The second bar is to confirm the first, like an " echo".. so a little less louder. 
  • The 3rd bar is for preparing the first note in the right hand.. so the melody line opens at the end ..
One has to be aware that the dramatic character in the left hand is not necessarily expressed by a slow tempo, but through the way one conveys the score as it is written, by making the melody in the left hand swell and unswell . The left hand has to be most " legato" possible

At 1:58, the melody in the left hand has to be heard clearly, as well as the melody in the middle section in the right hand at 4:11 

And do not forget to prepare the last bars !

Finally I would say that the pedal work has to breathe in harmony with the interpretation..

Additional Notes by MusicOnline UK
You'll need a lot of lateral freedom, which will be aided by  good feeling for the geography of the keyboard using 2nd and 3rd fingers as pivots as you travel from left to right and back again. 

Being aware of the different layers and voicing the tune is essential for a musical performance such as the opening RH melody and that of the LH in the piu vivo section.

In the appassionato climax of bars 70-82, there are actually 3 layers, leading with the RH melody, then the "bell like" lower octaves in the LH and finally the supporting quaver chords. Note they are supporting - not overpowering.

Note also that the full dynamic range is used in this piece, from ppp - fff.

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