Monday, 24 September 2012

Chopin - Prélude op.28 no.13 in F sharp

Another installment in one of my slowly moving background projects.

This is perhaps the most sentimental of the préludes: if we're being a little harsh we must admit that it's pretty saccharine. However, it is not without interest; the slippery chromatics in the base are satisfyingly complex, the major key cousin of the super-chromatic étude op.10 no.6, while the trio features two somewhat jazzy II-V-I progressions with a delicate stress on the major seventh in the melody.  Furthermore, the trio features some interesting modal harmony, which sounds surprisingly modern if listened to closely.

The transcription presents a couple of challenges; the chromatic line at times fits perfectly under the hand and at others is rather uncomfortable, and as it is played mostly on the lowest strings you can hear that I've had trouble preventing squeaks and creaks as the left hand voicing shifts around. There are also a couple of polyrhythms, one is 5 over 6: a challenge to achieve in both hands at once. In the trio, the ornamental melodies necessitate leaving a rest where the piano's left hand part should be, and overall it should be played far more smoothly than I've achieved here. Lastly, the high notes in the last few bars are played as artificial harmonics, which presents its own little challenges, although is in keeping with the way it's played on the piano.

Only time will tell if I ever get the chance to finish these all off, it'll probably take at least a few years and who knows what will be happening then. There are ten done, there's a good few that are written but need to be thoroughly practised, and we'll see if I can make rudimentary recordings as we go along. I'm pretty shy about showing the transcriptions themselves, but maybe at some point I'd like an expert to have a look at them.

Anyway, more architectural stuff to come...