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#2055277 - 03/27/13 07:10 PM Piece for Talent Search
schulte.sam.j Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/06/10
Posts: 16
Hello!

I'm looking for some advice on which piece to play at a state fair talent search. Though it may sound rather unimportant, the top prize is not insubstantial ($7500!).

For some background: there are 3 judges, 2 of whom always have musical experience (usually 1 is vocal and 1 is instrumental). They evaluate on difficulty, expression, technique, and "overall performance". They are certainly looking for a more "flashy" performance, so that's something to keep in mind. Also, the audience is fairgoers, so they must be pleased as well. This is by no means an upscale competition with a completely musically inclined audience. Other performers include dancers, singers, and instrumentalists.

I am now choosing between Chopin's Ballade No. 1 and Prokofiev's Suggestion Diabolique. The time limit is 3 minutes, so I will need to cut the Ballade, but I could play the entire Prokofiev.

Which piece do you think is better suited for the competition? I have learned both, so learning the piece is not a factor here. I just can't decide between the two!! I have gotten 4th place with the Chopin Fantasie Impromptu, and other popular pieces have been the Debussy L'isle Joyeuse and Chopin Scherzo No. 2.

Thanks for your help!!!


Edited by schulte.sam.j (03/27/13 07:11 PM)

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#2055300 - 03/27/13 07:38 PM Re: Piece for Talent Search [Re: schulte.sam.j]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5286
Loc: Philadelphia
If you need to please the crowd, you'll need to pick something non-music people will immediately recognize (and if at all possible, clap to). Stuff like this:

Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No 2 (the "Tom & Jerry" version.. with cat and/or mouse, if possible)
Horowitz Stars & Stripes
Any arrangement of Brahms Hungarian Dance #5 (Cziffra is okay)
Tchaikovsky's Russian Dance (Nutcracker Suite)
Any arrangement of William Tell Overture (the more virtuosic, the better)
Ponichelli's Dance of the Hours (any arrangement)
Rossini's Overture from either Barber of Seville or Thieving Magpie
Volodos' transcription of Mozart's Rondo alla Turca


Stuff like that. If you don't have to please the crowd, but only the judges, then the pieces you have in mind should be fine as long as you can make them fit the time slot.
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2055317 - 03/27/13 08:08 PM Re: Piece for Talent Search [Re: schulte.sam.j]
schulte.sam.j Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/06/10
Posts: 16
Thanks for the advice! Most of my concern is pleasing the judges, though I also want a good response from the crowd, as that can help improve the judges' perceptions of how I played. Thanks again!!!

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#2055321 - 03/27/13 08:17 PM Re: Piece for Talent Search [Re: schulte.sam.j]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4762
Loc: USA
7500$ for 3 minutes? Sign me up.

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#2055354 - 03/27/13 09:41 PM Re: Piece for Talent Search [Re: schulte.sam.j]
RachelEDNC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/11/09
Posts: 79
Do you have time to learn something else or is it going to need to be between Chopin and Prokofiev?

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#2055409 - 03/28/13 12:20 AM Re: Piece for Talent Search [Re: schulte.sam.j]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13763
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Do a cut version of the Chopin.

I know, it's artistically reprehensible, but this is a State Fair with Money on the Line!

Prokofiev doesn't seem likely to win over a state fair crowd.

Be Faust. Sell your soul to the devil. Cut the Chopin. And win the $$$$$$$$.

(Heck, with $7500, you could rent a hall and a 9ft Steinway, present a recital with the complete Ballade and Prokofiev in all their pristine artistic glory, and still have $6000 left over.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#2055535 - 03/28/13 09:10 AM Re: Piece for Talent Search [Re: schulte.sam.j]
schulte.sam.j Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/06/10
Posts: 16
@RachelEDNC: I may have time to learn something else. Do you have any suggestions?! I would greatly appreciate them!

@Kreisler: Thanks for the advice. That was my initial feeling as well, though some people have told me the Prokofiev would be good too.

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#2055558 - 03/28/13 09:55 AM Re: Piece for Talent Search [Re: Kreisler]
RachelEDNC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/11/09
Posts: 79
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Be Faust. Sell your soul to the devil. Cut the Chopin. And win the $$$$$$$$.


Lol, I agree with the above. If you pick one of the two pieces-- Chopin would be more of a crowd pleaser than Prokofiev. The state fair crowd seems pretty separate from the Prokofiev crowd.

If you want to try something else, what about a cut version of Bolcom- The Serpent's Kiss? Or any sort of fast rag?

OR! I just received the sheet music to this yesterday. It sounds difficult and is actually fairly comfortable in the hands (from what I could tell by reading through it).


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#2055605 - 03/28/13 11:09 AM Re: Piece for Talent Search [Re: schulte.sam.j]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4762
Loc: USA
IF YOU HAVE THE TECHNIQUE, do a Chopin etude in its entirety.

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#2055608 - 03/28/13 11:13 AM Re: Piece for Talent Search [Re: schulte.sam.j]
schulte.sam.j Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/06/10
Posts: 16
Good suggestions. I've considered doing a rag-type piece before, but strangely enough, I don't think the judges really like them.

Someone I know at my school actually just played the Gershwin! I'll definitely consider that one. Thanks!

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#2055609 - 03/28/13 11:14 AM Re: Piece for Talent Search [Re: schulte.sam.j]
schulte.sam.j Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/06/10
Posts: 16
@JoelW - I have played the Chopin Etude Op. 10 No. 5. That's something else I have considered. Do you have any specific etudes in mind?

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#2055669 - 03/28/13 12:58 PM Re: Piece for Talent Search [Re: JoelW]
Works1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 415
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: JoelW
IF YOU HAVE THE TECHNIQUE, do a Chopin etude in its entirety.


How about: 10/1, 10/8, 10/10, or 25/12

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#2055720 - 03/28/13 02:25 PM Re: Piece for Talent Search [Re: schulte.sam.j]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4762
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: schulte.sam.j
@JoelW - I have played the Chopin Etude Op. 10 No. 5. That's something else I have considered. Do you have any specific etudes in mind?


Any of them that are attractive to the 'average Joe'. Op. 10/ 1, 2, 5, 8, 12 are good options. I wouldn't recommend any of these unless you can REALLY pull them off. No one's going to award 7500 dollars to someone who can just kind of run through an etude. smile

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#2055725 - 03/28/13 02:37 PM Re: Piece for Talent Search [Re: schulte.sam.j]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21299
Loc: Oakland
Forget the Chopin Etudes. You need something that sounds difficult but is not, rather than something which is actually difficult. The judges will be judging less on the finer points of technique than on splash!

Moszowski! Gottschalk! Dohnanyi! Grainger!
_________________________
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#2055769 - 03/28/13 04:24 PM Re: Piece for Talent Search [Re: schulte.sam.j]
RachelEDNC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/11/09
Posts: 79
Dohnanyi for not difficult??????????? Gottschalk- yes (and a great suggestion. I forgot all about him!) Dohnanyi? You're a much better pianist than I!!!! I think most of his works are tremendously difficult and awkward.

Sam- I spent most of the day on the Wild/Gershwin. If you are curious about the difficulty, my instincts from last nights run through were correct. It is very patterned, very pianistic, and very repetitive. All great things for learning something quickly.


Edited by RachelEDNC (03/28/13 04:27 PM)

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#2055802 - 03/28/13 05:43 PM Re: Piece for Talent Search [Re: schulte.sam.j]
schulte.sam.j Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/06/10
Posts: 16
Do you have any specific Gottschalk recommendations?

Thanks for the update, Rachel! I'll give it a look!

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#2055867 - 03/28/13 08:36 PM Re: Piece for Talent Search [Re: schulte.sam.j]
schulte.sam.j Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/06/10
Posts: 16
Also, what do you think about the Grunfeld arrangement of Strauss' Die Fledermaus? I think I would still have time to learn this. It would also be much easier to cut down to 3 minutes. Here it is:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8dszR2IUuA

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#2055873 - 03/28/13 08:53 PM Re: Piece for Talent Search [Re: schulte.sam.j]
Gavbrown Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/12
Posts: 22
"Dizzy Fingers" or "Kitten on the Keys" by Zez Confrey are real crowd pleasers - virtuosic-sounding ragtime that is not actually that hard to play. Another good one is "The Entertainer's Rag," (I forget who the author is) which is all flash and fun. It features a really cool section where the right hand is playing Dixie while the left hand is playing Yankee Doodle.

Dizzy Fingers:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JY-01GBdRk

Kitten on the Keys:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ex70FE9cTro

The Entertainer's Rag:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrcwR7eijyc

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#2055925 - 03/28/13 10:59 PM Re: Piece for Talent Search [Re: schulte.sam.j]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4762
Loc: USA
Kitten on the Keys...



Blah! Am I the only one who doesn't think much of this piece?

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#2056020 - 03/29/13 03:05 AM Re: Piece for Talent Search [Re: schulte.sam.j]
FarmGirl Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 1909
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
How about khachaturian toccata.
It sounds more difficult than it is.

My old teacher had a student who wanted to be Miss America.
She needed something for talent portion of the contest.
She did not have time to adequately prepare so my teacher had her learn the piece. She won the city and county.
_________________________
Solo - Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, Schubert Sonata D960 Andante sostenute (9/7/14), Bach f minor Fugue WTC Bk1, Rachmaninoff Elegie Op 3 #1, Chopin Trois Nouvelles Etudes #1



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#2056047 - 03/29/13 06:33 AM Re: Piece for Talent Search [Re: FarmGirl]
worov Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/13/08
Posts: 114
Loc: Paris
So, we are looking for pieces which are not too difficult, but which sound difficult.

Here are some suggetions.

Scarlatti sonata :


Prokofiev (from his Juvenilia) :


Bach Italian Concerto :


Gigue from the Partita BWV 825 :


Mozart : Variations on 'Ah, vous dirais-je maman'


Shostakovich : Spanish Dance


Debussy : Doctor Gradus ad parnassum


There are about a million others. The list is endless. Good luck with your concert.


Edited by worov (03/29/13 06:33 AM)

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#2056107 - 03/29/13 09:30 AM Re: Piece for Talent Search [Re: schulte.sam.j]
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2703
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
I really liked the Wild-Gershwin piece, the Horowitz Stars and Stripes should certainly be a contender. I don't think you can do justice to Ballade #1 is 3 minutes, but if you think you can go for it.

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#2056146 - 03/29/13 10:40 AM Re: Piece for Talent Search [Re: schulte.sam.j]
Tim Adrianson Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/10
Posts: 1024
The suggestion of Gottschalk brought to mind a specific piece of his -- "Pasquinade". Although I'm not in general a Gottschalk fan, that piece is just a real charmer, and it has enough virtuose fluorishes to make it sound like a million bucks, without being unduly difficult. For what you're looking for, a serious candidate.

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#2059873 - 04/05/13 02:29 PM Re: Piece for Talent Search [Re: schulte.sam.j]
schulte.sam.j Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/06/10
Posts: 16
Thanks for the suggestions. I really like the Gershwin Wild suggestion.

What do you all think about the Die Fledermaus? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8dszR2IUuA

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#2059881 - 04/05/13 03:02 PM Re: Piece for Talent Search [Re: RachelEDNC]
BruceD Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17845
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: RachelEDNC
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Be Faust. Sell your soul to the devil. Cut the Chopin. And win the $$$$$$$$.


Lol, I agree with the above. If you pick one of the two pieces-- Chopin would be more of a crowd pleaser than Prokofiev. The state fair crowd seems pretty separate from the Prokofiev crowd.

If you want to try something else, what about a cut version of Bolcom- The Serpent's Kiss? Or any sort of fast rag?

OR! I just received the sheet music to this yesterday. It sounds difficult and is actually fairly comfortable in the hands (from what I could tell by reading through it).



If you think the Gershwin/Wild is "fairly comfortable in the hands" and if that means, to you, that it is not as difficult as it sounds, you must have a fantastic technique! It is not easy, by any means.
_________________________
BruceD
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