What can I play? Suggestions most welcome and much needed!

Posted by: Aura

What can I play? Suggestions most welcome and much needed! - 01/04/02 03:36 AM

Dear people,

I have small hands, as you probably already know. I can barely stretch an octave and so have trouble playing a LOT of things that I love, which is very very frustrating.

Can you tell me what are some pieces that are advanced, performance works, that I would be able to manage? Apart form Mozart! I'm very interested in early-late 20th century and romantic composers.

please help!

Thanks \:\)
Posted by: Rachelle

Re: What can I play? Suggestions most welcome and much needed! - 01/04/02 09:20 AM

Aura,
I can really understand how you feel as I 'm in the same shoe as you. It is rather depressing to find pieces that you like but unable to play. But I always tell myself that someday I will be able to do it. I have find myself able to reach an octave better but still quite far from playing on the black keys. But I believe that both of us can do it ,not now, but someday.
Posted by: Amy

Re: What can I play? Suggestions most welcome and much needed! - 01/04/02 03:22 PM

Try some Debussy, maybe Clare De Lune or the Image 1 suite.
Posted by: Brendan

Re: What can I play? Suggestions most welcome and much needed! - 01/04/02 03:59 PM

Right off the bat, you should probably stay away from Franck, Messiaen, and most Rachmaninoff (especially Franck and Messiaen).

Try to go for composers who had small hands themselves - Ravel is the first that comes to my mind. Rarely will you get passages of double octaves in his music; the neo-classical purity of his music also extends into the pianistic techniques that he uses (repeated notes, exploitation of the thumb)and the positions that the music puts your hands in.

You can also try some Mendelssohn and Debussy (Estampes would probably be a good choice). Liszt is a maybe; it just depends on the piece. I wouldn't recommend very many of the paraphrases or Sonata, but you can probably still manage many of the pieces from Annees de Pelerinage without difificulty.
Posted by: MacDuff

Re: What can I play? Suggestions most welcome and much needed! - 01/04/02 05:15 PM

Have you tried much Scarlatti or Haydn? Bach is not so stretch intensive. SOME Chopin isn't, but he had narrow hands with long fingers that could be splayed to play gruesome chords (as you know \:\) ).
Posted by: okat47

Re: What can I play? Suggestions most welcome and much needed! - 01/04/02 05:17 PM

Don't forget Bach. I have small hands myself and I find that most of Bach's music fits my hands quite well.
Why no Mozart? I don't really like listening to Mozart, but I like playing it. For some reason, I find that the music just "feels" nice to my fingers. It's just really satisfying.
It seems kind of unfair, though, that we can't play all that flashy repertoire. :sigh:
Posted by: jazzyd

Re: What can I play? Suggestions most welcome and much needed! - 01/04/02 07:02 PM

Hi Aura,

I have a suggestion for Rachmaninoff (believe it or not!), if you're interested, that has relatively few RH octave stretches and even less for the LH, and the stretches that are there could probably be rolled/altered without too much compromise.

It's the f# minor Prelude (Op.23, No.1) and judging from the sort of music you like, I think you'd probably enjoy it. Although it's a slow piece, there's quite a lot of left-hand work, so it should be useful technically too.

Dave
Posted by: shantinik

Re: What can I play? Suggestions most welcome and much needed! - 01/04/02 07:16 PM

You could do a lot of Isaac Albeniz, most of which rely on an uncanny sense of rhythm and style, rather than huge finger reach. Try Tango and Malaguena. Also Cantos de Espana (Asturias). Surefire crowd-pleaser, when done right.
Posted by: Aura

Re: What can I play? Suggestions most welcome and much needed! - 01/04/02 09:08 PM

Thank you all very much. I said "excluding Mozart" not because I don't playing him, but becasue I'm already in the middle of working on 3 of his sonatas and about to learn a concerto(!)

I love Bach and play him as much as possible. he's just wonderful! \:\)

What I was actually looking for was a few pieces that are about 10-12 minutes long (or longer) from the Romantic/20th century periods that are very good for performance and competition that sound great and are respected but won't kill my poor little hands!! Something difficult, but not difficult in terms of Lisztian double octaves and thunderous Rach chords. Some of your suggestions are great!

Any more would be wonderful. Thanks people, you're great! \:\)
Posted by: shantinik

Re: What can I play? Suggestions most welcome and much needed! - 01/05/02 12:13 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Aura:


What I was actually looking for was a few pieces that are about 10-12 minutes long (or longer) from the Romantic/20th century periods that are very good for performance and competition that sound great and are respected but won't kill my poor little hands!! \:\)[/b]


Again, Albeniz. All of Iberia fits the bill. As do the Cantos Espanola, and the few I referenced earlier.

But they are NOT easy!
Posted by: Aura

Re: What can I play? Suggestions most welcome and much needed! - 01/06/02 07:47 AM

dear Shantinik,

yes, thank you. i am about to embark on Iberia 1,2 and 3. The El Puertos will be interesting... hmmm. It's very difficult (i know!!! \:\) ) And there are a lot of octave bits but I love it.

Will look into your suggestions also - thank you very much.

have you played any of the Iberia yourself?

*hugs*
Posted by: shantinik

Re: What can I play? Suggestions most welcome and much needed! - 01/06/02 04:51 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Aura:
dear Shantinik,

yes, thank you. i am about to embark on Iberia 1,2 and 3. The El Puertos will be interesting... hmmm. It's very difficult (i know!!! \:\) ) And there are a lot of octave bits but I love it.

Will look into your suggestions also - thank you very much.

have you played any of the Iberia yourself?

*hugs*[/b]


Believe it or not, I don't play a note! But I am the father of an 11-year-old piano phenom, with small (but extraordinarily wide) hands who is preparing for a debut recital. We hit upon Albeniz when we discovered she had an intense dislike of Debussy (it will change), but wanted to add some "impresssionistic color" to her program. She is doing the Espana -- Preludio, Tango (a GREAT piece), and Malaguena in the body of her program, and the big Cantos de Espana Prelude (which we often hear on guitar, but was actually written for piano) for her encore. These are deceptive, and difficult to do idiomatically.

The rest of her program is two Bach inventions, Mozart Sonata in A K. 331, Beethoven Pathetique, Chopin B Minor Mazurka (opus 33 #4), Chopin Military Polonaise, Chopin Nocturne Opus 9 No., and Brahms Hungarian Dances #6 and #11. Oh, and Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven".
Posted by: pepper

Re: What can I play? Suggestions most welcome and much needed! - 01/06/02 08:32 PM

I think you might try some Faure. Lots of delicious Nocturnes to choose from, a wonderful Ballade also although that might not be right for your hands - depends on flexibility...no, you're very young - good, but young, so stick with the Nocturnes for now. But listen to the Ballade!

[ January 07, 2002: Message edited by: pepper ]
Posted by: sparrow

Re: What can I play? Suggestions most welcome and much needed! - 01/19/02 05:27 PM

Hi Aura,
Just reviving your topic as I realized one of the pieces Iím learning hardly has any octave-spans at all : Schubertís impromptu 90/4. IMO a very romantic piece which sounds very difficult, but isnít too hard at all. And itís very easy to memorize, too. Itís a relief to be able switch to this one as Iím studying Chopinís nocturne 9/1 at the same time.
Posted by: JS

Re: What can I play? Suggestions most welcome and much needed! - 01/19/02 09:01 PM

Nobody's mentioned Mompou yet. I had a student play the whole Scenes of Childhood set quite well, and she had smallish hands...

I played the first book of Iberia last year and Triana. #1 and 2 would be fine, but there's lots of thorny octave stuff in Corpus.