Sunday, January 01, 2006

Fantasie Impromptu

Ok, I've decided to blog down the trials and tribulations of trying to conquer this quite notorious musical peak, inspired in part by http://www.skytopia.com/project/articles/chopin.html.

Unfortunately, its cursed with the "overplayed" syndrome. Piano afficianadoes everywhere claim to have played it as their first ever piece. It appears randomly from Cantonese soap opera soundtracks to handphone ringtones. Even worse, Chopin was said to dislike the piece much that he refused to have it published. Hence the "posthumous Op 66". It was one of his earliest compositions and he thought it lacked depth. Maybe its like flipping through your diary entries of yesteryears and cringing at how could you have penned all those immature and juvenile comments. Fantasie Impromptu sounds flighty and flashy, and its middle section prods along painfully at times. Still, it remains one of the best-loved works of Chopin. And any self-respecting piano teacher SHOULD have it on his repertoire. Which was why I decided to commence on this journey.

A cursory run through of the RH from Bar 5 to Bar 40 revealed a lot of technical deficiencies on my part, of which Bar 37-40 would be the fiendishly difficult part. A few issues of note:

1) evenness at high speed (130) from Bar 5 to 24 deserts me. Still able to hold the fort at 110. HT sounds super amateurish to the discerning ear, but should get by to the rest.

2) how to play the 3s on 4s. There are 2 school of thoughts : one is, the 3s on 4s is a remarkable mathematical concept which Chopin intuitively understood. The more accurate you are on the 3s and 4s, the more it brings out a wavelike Moire pattern. It creates an auditory illusion to accelerate the piece up by 3 times. The second school of thought says that, it being a fantasy and impromptu, we should just play to our hearts and abandon all the mathematical rigidity.

We shall see...