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Audition Repertoire
#3002418 07/14/20 08:30 AM
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Hey guys,
I'm thinking of applying to different european conservatoires for masters. I'm kinda stuck choosing the repertoire.

I think i'll go with:

- Beethoven Sonata Op. 110
- Berg Sonata Op. 1
- Some chopin etudes

The problem is the romantic piece. I'm thinking of Chopin's Polonaise-Fantaisie Op.61, but also consider Chopin's 3rd Sonata. Do you think using the sonata and only playing the 1st and 2nd movement is ok as a romantic work?

Also, I'd really appreciate other suggestions.

Last edited by JSPiano; 07/14/20 08:36 AM.
Re: Audition Repertoire
pianex #3002449 07/14/20 10:47 AM
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What are the audition requirements for the conservatories you are considering? No Baroque? No Classical-era works?

Why would you consider playing "some Chopin Etudes" and then add another major work by Chopin?

It seems to me that your program selection is not very well balanced.

Regards,

Last edited by BruceD; 07/14/20 10:49 AM.

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Re: Audition Repertoire
BruceD #3002457 07/14/20 10:59 AM
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Yes, but I already have Bach works and the classical sonata would be Beethoven Op. 110. I also have Chopin and Liszt etudes, what I mean is that I don't have to choose any repertoire considering etudes, not that I would play them as romantic work.

I haven't decided which ones I will be applying, so I'm choosing repertoire to fit most requirements. The core is classical sonata, romantic and/or modern work and a work after 1970. I'm undecided about the romantic work and I think of Chopin works because they are not too large (even the sonatas) and the conservatoires that do require the Chopin etude mostly do it on a separate "round".

Re: Audition Repertoire
pianex #3002486 07/14/20 01:27 PM
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I probably wouldn't program a Chopin work as the romantic one if I was playing a Chopin etude. You want to demonstrate you can play different styles and different composers well. If you're playing a Chopin etude already, I'd want a slightly longer romantic work that constrasts whichever etude you are playing. Something where you can show off your interpretation and structural understanding.

Re: Audition Repertoire
pianex #3002488 07/14/20 01:28 PM
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Some might argue that the Beethoven Op. 110 is beyond what one might consider a "Classical" period work. Haydn, Mozart, early Beethoven would be a better contrast to one of the Chopin Sonatas, in my opinion. In any case - in my opinion, of course - I wouldn't pair the Beethoven Op. 110 and one of the Chopin Sonatas for a conservatory audition that is looking for "contrast." I'm not sure that I would even put two Sonatas on an audition program, let alone three, if you play the Berg.

Let's see what others have to say.

Regards,


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Re: Audition Repertoire
pianex #3002493 07/14/20 01:40 PM
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The Berg sonata is a romantic work. You need something modern.


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Re: Audition Repertoire
computerpro3 #3002554 07/14/20 04:39 PM
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I get you, the things is that the schools that require the chopin etude mostly do so as recording or in a separate part of the exam. It wouldnt ever be followed by a romantic piece

Re: Audition Repertoire
BruceD #3002555 07/14/20 04:40 PM
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I see what you mean, 3 sonatas might be too much. Even though the Berg is a single movement sonata.

Re: Audition Repertoire
BDB #3002556 07/14/20 04:42 PM
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I'm not really sure I agree with you. Modern period would include Debussy, Scriabin, Berg, Schoenberg. Another thing would be contemporary.

Last edited by JSPiano; 07/14/20 04:44 PM.
Re: Audition Repertoire
BDB #3002568 07/14/20 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by BDB
The Berg sonata is a romantic work. You need something modern.

That's the first time I've heard the Berg Sonata being described as Romantic. How so? The work is firmly planted in the 20th-century sound world, even though it's written over 100 years ago.


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Re: Audition Repertoire
BDB #3002571 07/14/20 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by BDB
The Berg sonata is a romantic work. You need something modern.
Actually, I would disagree. Berg's earliest compositions (lieder) were clearly late Romantic in nature, but with the sonata (composed in 1908-09) he started to move in entirely different direction. It is definitely a modern work.


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Re: Audition Repertoire
pianex #3002605 07/14/20 06:36 PM
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Bartók's Sonata would sound more "modern", and would better show off one's chops than the Berg, which seems to me to be the one concession every pianist who wouldn't otherwise touch anything by the Second Viennese School with a barge pole make, just to show they aren't 'out of touch' with anything 'contemporary'.


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Re: Audition Repertoire
pianex #3002617 07/14/20 06:58 PM
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The Copland Piano Variations would be even more modern. smile

Last edited by Carey; 07/14/20 06:59 PM.

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Re: Audition Repertoire
pianex #3002738 07/15/20 04:47 AM
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Depending on where exactly you're applying, in the big German and Austrian conservatories you only get to play the sonata in the first round- usually exposition and beginning of second movement, sometimes the etude as well. This round can last only five minutes, so make sure the sonata and etude are very well-chosen and well-prepared and that they show your strengths and technical level.

It helps to see what certain conservatories suggest as a masters-level repertoire. For example, the Lübeck conservatory gives the following program as an example of the difficulty level expected: Beethoven- Sonate op. 57, Schumann- Kreisleriana, Ligéti- Etüdes.

Re: Audition Repertoire
pianex #3002741 07/15/20 05:05 AM
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And as you say I wouldn't worry about playing Chopin for the Romantic work, as this is in a separate round on a separate day. Two sonatas would also be fine. My impression was that it's less about repertoire choice/ variety and more about what you can play very well. "Modern" is also pretty lax. It basically means anything after Romanticism, unless the conservatory specifically asks for a piece post 1950 (some do, so be careful).

It is of course refreshing for a jury to not hear the same piece a hundred and fifty times a day, but to some extent, the audition is a formal procedure. In the big cities, because the jury literally listens to hundreds of players, and because each teacher accepts only one or two new students into their class, it is only natural that they go for those whose playing they know better (e.g. students who have done Erasmus with that teacher, a masterclass, etc). So if you can afford it, look up the teachers that interest you, and try to see if they are offering masterclasses or if you can have a lesson or two before your audition. It helps a lot, and this is how it usually works.

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Ainar #3002760 07/15/20 06:21 AM
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What do you think of Beethoven's 110? I'm afraid it doesnt show much technique until the fugue. I'm thinking of going for either Chopin's Op. 10 n. 1 or Op. 25 n. 12.

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Ainar #3002769 07/15/20 06:26 AM
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Ok, thank you for the insight. I think the Berg Sonata suits well as modern, but I will also have a piece after 1970 for the ones that require contemporary. I still don't know what I might play for romantic piece, I think I should go with something more virtuosistic seeing the Op. 110 and Berg are not super showy in terms of technique. I have played Liszt's Dante Sonata before, maybe it would be a good choice.

Yes, I'm planning on doing so. Actually been trying to teach some youngsters to see if I can get some money. laugh

Re: Audition Repertoire
pianex #3002921 07/15/20 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by JSPiano
What do you think of Beethoven's 110? I'm afraid it doesnt show much technique until the fugue. I'm thinking of going for either Chopin's Op. 10 n. 1 or Op. 25 n. 12.
The 1st and 2nd movements of Opus 110 can be tricky. I found the fugue to be easier. from a technical standpoint. Have you played either of the two etudes?


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Re: Audition Repertoire
pianex #3003541 07/17/20 02:59 AM
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Originally Posted by JSPiano
What do you think of Beethoven's 110? I'm afraid it doesnt show much technique until the fugue. I'm thinking of going for either Chopin's Op. 10 n. 1 or Op. 25 n. 12.
Sorry for the late reply. I really don't know; I've never played Op. 110 myself, but it's a monumental work. It's not as immediately technically showy as the more virtuosic Beethoven sonatas, but it requires great musical maturity and has its unique difficulties. And its dangers, too- I think its opening A flat major chord alone is enough to make the listener decide whether or not they want to hear more. So if you feel like it shows your strengths, and if you are able to say something special with it, something that conveys artistry, maturity, true sentiment, mastery of form and tension, then go for it. In general I always feel it's unfair to hear any late Beethoven sonata not in its entirety, because those pieces are all about the tension in the bigger narrative.

(I always think of this very special designation, "con amabilità". The first movement of Brahms' violin and piano sonata Op. 100 is also marked "allegro amabile", and similarly, I've always felt that those first four notes are enough to show a great violinist- the way they echo the pianist's phrase in affirmation, an intimacy that is almost too much to bear. (I wish the great Dora Schwarzberg had recorded it, because she gets just the right Brahmsian tenderness in the first sonata).

The same goes for the romantic piece. The idea is that hundreds come to apply from all over the world, so you need to show your best. Your best isn't only technique (it's interesting to hear some teachers complain about the piano banging they have to endure for hours), so while it should show a masters' level technical mastery, choose pieces you love and feel a personal connection to. It's great that you're already also saving to travel- it's such an important investment if you plan it well, and it's something I learned late (one can have the feeling it's "seeking connections" in the negative sense, but it's simply the way things are done, because instrumental study is really about finding the right teacher for you). It doesn't have to mean traveling and taking masterclasses, although that's ideal and is the most common way to explore potential teachers; you can also write a teacher that interests you and send them a few of your recordings. Ask for feedback, maybe share what you plan to play for your audition and ask if they think it's a good program. Not all will reply, of course, but those who do will already have some idea about you and your playing before you come to audition. It doesn't guarantee you a place, of course, but it gives you more time to be heard. The system as a whole is not fair, I think- auditions are open to anyone without prescreening, and you fly in and pay lots of money to only play for a few minutes, usually not enough to say much about you, unless you mess up (unlike the US, no other considerations count- there are no essays, no interview, no counting for diversity, etc).

Re: Audition Repertoire
Ainar #3003900 07/18/20 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Ainar
Originally Posted by JSPiano
What do you think of Beethoven's 110? I'm afraid it doesnt show much technique until the fugue. I'm thinking of going for either Chopin's Op. 10 n. 1 or Op. 25 n. 12.
Sorry for the late reply. I really don't know; I've never played Op. 110 myself, but it's a monumental work. It's not as immediately technically showy as the more virtuosic Beethoven sonatas, but it requires great musical maturity and has its unique difficulties. And its dangers, too- I think its opening A flat major chord alone is enough to make the listener decide whether or not they want to hear more. So if you feel like it shows your strengths, and if you are able to say something special with it, something that conveys artistry, maturity, true sentiment, mastery of form and tension, then go for it. In general I always feel it's unfair to hear any late Beethoven sonata not in its entirety, because those pieces are all about the tension in the bigger narrative.

(I always think of this very special designation, "con amabilità". The first movement of Brahms' violin and piano sonata Op. 100 is also marked "allegro amabile", and similarly, I've always felt that those first four notes are enough to show a great violinist- the way they echo the pianist's phrase in affirmation, an intimacy that is almost too much to bear. (I wish the great Dora Schwarzberg had recorded it, because she gets just the right Brahmsian tenderness in the first sonata).

The same goes for the romantic piece. The idea is that hundreds come to apply from all over the world, so you need to show your best. Your best isn't only technique (it's interesting to hear some teachers complain about the piano banging they have to endure for hours), so while it should show a masters' level technical mastery, choose pieces you love and feel a personal connection to. It's great that you're already also saving to travel- it's such an important investment if you plan it well, and it's something I learned late (one can have the feeling it's "seeking connections" in the negative sense, but it's simply the way things are done, because instrumental study is really about finding the right teacher for you). It doesn't have to mean traveling and taking masterclasses, although that's ideal and is the most common way to explore potential teachers; you can also write a teacher that interests you and send them a few of your recordings. Ask for feedback, maybe share what you plan to play for your audition and ask if they think it's a good program. Not all will reply, of course, but those who do will already have some idea about you and your playing before you come to audition. It doesn't guarantee you a place, of course, but it gives you more time to be heard. The system as a whole is not fair, I think- auditions are open to anyone without prescreening, and you fly in and pay lots of money to only play for a few minutes, usually not enough to say much about you, unless you mess up (unlike the US, no other considerations count- there are no essays, no interview, no counting for diversity, etc).

Thank you for your answers! You have been quite helpful!.

That's what I am afraid of. I think the sonata really does work as a whole and playing just the 1st movement won't show much. I'd say I am quite musical and can make sense out of things, but the Berg also explores that. I'm afraid the sonata is a bad pick. My other choice would be Appassionata. But still, I'm trying to find a romantic piece I enjoy and shows more "fireworks". I have played Liszt's Dante Sonata and I like the work very much, but I think Berg + Dante + Op. 110 is quite heavy, so I dont think it would go that well.

My goal would be contacting some teachers and trying to get a class before the exam, but I have to make good choices because I really can't afford many classes and flights, so I'll have to me smart about it.

Last edited by JSPiano; 07/18/20 09:31 AM.

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