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#523544 - 11/06/01 06:10 PM Good piece for a "celebration of life"
Megumi Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 12
Loc: New York
Hello. This is my first post (although I've been reading the board for quite some time)!
I have a big project. It will be 2 years next year May 5th since my husband's death. I'm planning to have a "celebration of life" and play some piece for him. I need a piece that expresses sadness (that his life got cut short at 36), anger (that we only had 5 years together), but also hope (that I still have things in my life to be thankful for).

I am thinking of Chopin's Ballade, Op 23 but I'm not sure if this piece is within my reach. I'm only at the intermediate level. The piece I worked most recently is Chopin's Fantaisie-Impromptu. I took lessons for 6 years when I was very young and only started again after my husband died. Do you think if I take 6 months, I'd be able to play it half-decently (to the audience who is not that familiar with piano music, at least)?

Do you have any suggestions on other good pieces? Thanks!

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#523545 - 11/07/01 01:18 PM Re: Good piece for a "celebration of life"
Rick Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/01
Posts: 559
Loc: Chicago
Megumi,I'm very sorry to hear about your husband. Regarding the Ballades, they are all supposed to be very difficult, and opus 23 is not even the easiest among them. I am supposed to be an intermediate-level player, maybe even "upper-intermediate". But I would not even touch Fantaisie-Impromptu. So maybe you're better than you think. Or maybe I'm worse than I thought!

Some other possibilities might be taken from Chopin's nocturnes or mazurkas. Opus 17, #4 is one of the most beautiful pieces I know, and yet it is quite sad. Then you have several incredible nocturnes to consider. Several of them have tremendous changes in them, from happy to sad, to stormy, etc. You might consider #27-1. That may be my favorite piano piece of all time. After a tremendous buildup, and a fantastic emotional peak, it moves into a happy little mazurka and finally finishes in a very serious manner. This piece always stirs me up emotionally, and I don't even have a specific topic or purpose in mind. And if I had the skill, I know I could take out some anger on that fantastic part in the middle. A somewhat similar piece, albeit a little more difficult, is opus 48, no. 1. Many consider this to be his greatest nocturne.

#523546 - 11/07/01 05:58 PM Re: Good piece for a "celebration of life"
yok Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/01
Posts: 475
Loc: New Zealand
The G minor Ballade is considerably harder than the Fantasie-Impromptu in my experience, particularly in the coda. Although the F-I has a lot of notes, you really don't need to move the hand a great deal. Your teacher's opinion is probably the best to get on this as he or she will know your capabilities. It's really not the sort of occasion where you want to be putting yourself under pressure to perform.

As for other pieces, I think the slow movement from Schubert's last piano sonata (D.960) would work well. It is technically much less difficult than the Chopin, but is challenging to play well. I think it conveys many of the feelings you want to express.

#523547 - 11/07/01 07:56 PM Re: Good piece for a "celebration of life"
ryan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado

I like the Chopin Op. 27 suggestion, but I would play both Nocturnes. They are one of my favorite combinations of pieces. They fit together seamlessly, so much so that I usually play them without a break. To me they capture the emotions that you described in your post.

Hope all goes well,


#523548 - 11/07/01 10:50 PM Re: Good piece for a "celebration of life"
Megumi Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 12
Loc: New York
Thanks for your suggestions! I'll see if I can download Chopin's Nocturne Op 27 and Schubert's Sonata.

I missed lessons for almost 2 months because of the WTC attack. (I live close to the Ground Zero.) When I start lessons again, hopefully soon, I'll ask my teacher for advice!


#523549 - 11/10/01 01:00 PM Re: Good piece for a "celebration of life"
Nina Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 6467
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
You might also want to try out a few of the Scriabin preludes (op 11), especially some of the easier ones. #1, #7, #8 are in reasonably keys and may strike the right melodic "tone."

These preludes are all very short (about 2-4 minutes each) and may give you some flexibility that way as well.

The Gm Ballade is one of my all-time favorite pieces but it's a tough one to get down so that it sounds nice.

Good luck, hope you have a wonderful celebration.



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