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What's the fastest you have had to learn something? #431836 03/11/04 01:16 PM
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What was the most short-notice engagement you have had to perform and what did you have to learn?

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Re: What's the fastest you have had to learn something? #431837 03/11/04 01:21 PM
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Most recently, I had to learn two 4 or 5 minute pieces in a month-Rachmaninoff's op. 3 melody and a Haydn sonata in G major. Both were for a wimpy competition thing that my teacher wanted me to do-and turns out, I wasn't even playing the "correct" edition of the Rachmaninoff!
I also had one teacher a few years ago who wanted me to do 15 minutes of Chopin music for a competition the month after-I tried half-heartedly to learn an etude and a polonaise in two weeks and then told him it was crazy...

Re: What's the fastest you have had to learn something? #431838 03/11/04 02:00 PM
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I've sight-read a few accompanying recitals because I either didn't have time to look at the music or had to cover for someone at the last minute.

Both fun and not.

Re: What's the fastest you have had to learn something? #431839 03/11/04 02:23 PM
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Eb Brahms Viola sonata in 2 days.

I'd played it 10 years previously, but it was a rough 2 days getting it back into the fingers.

Had to do Tzigane in a week last year, too.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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Re: What's the fastest you have had to learn something? #431840 03/11/04 02:24 PM
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"In my youth, my son, Father William replied ...": I performed in several music competitions. One of the optional categories - for those of us terrorized by the "Sight Reading" category - was called "Quick Study"; the competitor was given a(n unknown) piece of music twenty-four hours before the performance, and the performance was before both an adjudicator and a public audience.

Fun and not!

Regards,


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Re: What's the fastest you have had to learn something? #431841 03/11/04 04:06 PM
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A few weeks ago a violinist had an audition for a music festival, and needed someone to accompany. I had to learn a Mozart violin and piano sonata in 3 days in order to play it! (A major, K.305)
For me, it is a lot faster to memorize than to sight read, but it came out very good for 3 days. (She ended up getting accepted, and even though I was not auditioning officially, I ended up doing so on the spot anyway, with some other pieces and some of my compositions, and I have the chance to go now as well. The director of the festival was a very nice guy, and we talked for a good amount of time.)

Re: What's the fastest you have had to learn something? #431842 03/12/04 04:47 PM
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As a church pianist - pieces are routinely put in front of me about 5 minutes before services start - though they typically tend to be rather easy pieces.

As for actual concerts, I had to learn the piano part to Beethoven's Spring Sonata in about a week.

While it wasn't for recitals, my piano teacher in college had me learn two Bach P&F and two Chopin Nocturnes for every lesson (I had two lessons a week) to the point where I could still have the music in front of me, but I had to know it - I couldn't fumble around with it. That kept me on my toes...

Interestingly, that same teacher told me that he learned Saint-Saens' second concerto in two days before playing it with a major symphony orchestra... Don't some people just make you sick!!! smile


What you are is an accident of birth. What I am, I am through my own efforts. There have been a thousand princes and there will be a thousand more. There is one Beethoven.
Re: What's the fastest you have had to learn something? #431843 03/12/04 04:51 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by 8ude:
As a church pianist - pieces are routinely put in front of me about 5 minutes before services start - though they typically tend to be rather easy pieces.

As for actual concerts, I had to learn the piano part to Beethoven's Spring Sonata in about a week.

While it wasn't for recitals, my piano teacher in college had me learn two Bach P&F and two Chopin Nocturnes for every lesson (I had two lessons a week) to the point where I could still have the music in front of me, but I had to know it - I couldn't fumble around with it. That kept me on my toes...

Interestingly, that same teacher told me that he learned Saint-Saens' second concerto in two days before playing it with a major symphony orchestra... Don't some people just make you sick!!! smile
4 preludes and fugues and 4 nocturnes every week! Wow eek

And " eek " at learning that concerto in two days.

Re: What's the fastest you have had to learn something? #431844 03/12/04 05:10 PM
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I was only with him for about a third of a semester (he was filling in for my usual teacher), so we didn't make it through the whole sets of those pieces, but I made it pretty far.

You know what's interesting, though, is that as fast as I learned all of those pieces, I kind of forgot them just as quickly. It was a study in quick preparation, but as soon as I played them for him at my next lesson, it was on to the next pieces.

Now when I sit down and look at the WTC or the Chopin Nocturnes, I can't believe I played through half of those pieces - even some of the ones I know I played seem foreign to me like I never played them before... Very strange...


What you are is an accident of birth. What I am, I am through my own efforts. There have been a thousand princes and there will be a thousand more. There is one Beethoven.
Re: What's the fastest you have had to learn something? #431845 03/12/04 05:32 PM
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Not sure if I'm on topic but, Ravel's Prelude

http://www.sheetmusicarchive.net/compositions_b/rav_prel.pdf

was composed for a sight-reading competition...
zorro


"I love Beethoven, especially the poems."
Ringo Starr
Re: What's the fastest you have had to learn something? #431846 03/12/04 05:36 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by 8ude:
Don't some people just make you sick!!!
Indeed they do. I once heard that Horowitz was on a three hour flight to play at a concert, and was playing a Piano Concerto (Beethoven, I think) that he had not yet learned. He had the score with him on the flight, learned it from the sheet music, and played it from memory when he got there. True story. I'm not sure where I found it, but if you give me time I'll try and find the source.

Re: What's the fastest you have had to learn something? #431847 03/12/04 06:48 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Shrek:
Indeed they do. I once heard that Horowitz was on a three hour flight to play at a concert, and was playing a Piano Concerto (Beethoven, I think) that he had not yet learned. He had the score with him on the flight, learned it from the sheet music, and played it from memory when he got there. True story. I'm not sure where I found it, but if you give me time I'll try and find the source.
This is very likely to be apocryphal. Though Horowitz was one of the great sight-readers, he practiced fanatically the difficult passages of pieces he performed. It is very unlikely that he agreed to perform a concerto he never played before. Also, he did not like to fly and did not fly in the 30s 40s and 50s while on tour, and I do not think that he played Beethoven concertos except the Emporer, and that was dropped prior to his long 53-'65 sabbatical.

Please, if you find a source, let us know.

Re: What's the fastest you have had to learn something? #431848 03/12/04 07:17 PM
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I think the story refers to Rubenstein. I recall that story from one of his autobiographies.


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Re: What's the fastest you have had to learn something? #431849 03/13/04 12:58 AM
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i think i heard somewhere that horowitz sight-read the rach3 with rachmaninoff who played the orchestra reduction..

Re: What's the fastest you have had to learn something? #431850 03/13/04 09:35 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by chopinistic:
i think i heard somewhere that horowitz sight-read the rach3 with rachmaninoff who played the orchestra reduction..
Horowitz had already played the 3rd many times by the time he met Rachmaninoff in 1928.

Re: What's the fastest you have had to learn something? #431851 03/13/04 11:17 AM
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Same here as Brendan. I a often a last-minute fill in, either getting one run-through or none at all for accompanying. The worst was having to read through a Mozart concerto at the recital( me being the orchestra part), where the flutist decided to have all the control of a run-away train. Somehow, we managed to keep it together.


"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music." ~Rachmaninoff
Re: What's the fastest you have had to learn something? #431852 03/13/04 02:53 PM
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I remember a charming interview in which Richter, who was 80 at least and certainly looking it, was reminiscing about his hotheaded youth as a pianist. "I've done some stupid things" he said, "like learning the Prokofiev 6th Sonata for a concert in the space of just 4 days".

Re: What's the fastest you have had to learn something? #431853 03/13/04 06:14 PM
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Myra Hess's Transcription of Bach's Jesu Joy the night before my cousin's wedding. I could have learned an easier version, but I LOVE the Myra Hess Transcription and it was worth the stress.

Re: What's the fastest you have had to learn something? #431854 03/13/04 09:07 PM
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Tchaikovsky Chanson Triste in 30 minutes. I had to play for and evaluation in school and I had forgotten to practice.

Re: What's the fastest you have had to learn something? #431855 03/13/04 09:23 PM
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I happen to be reading Rubinstein's autobiography (the second one) right now. He mentions reading over the sheet music to a new piece while on a train, and I believe he said he performed it later the same day. But I think he said he got to go over it on the piano before playing for the audience.

He said he learned best by reading the sheet music over and over until he felt he understood a piece, and after that, he would start practicing it.

Here's something more impressive than learning a concerto on a plane ride: Schonberg's book is full of anecdotes about Liszt sitting down and playing extremely difficult pieces at sight, and it says he did his best playing this way. If that's true, he must have been an alien, because no human could do that.

The book says he was able to do this not only with piano pieces, but with scores intended for orchestras, converting various instruments' parts to piano on the fly.

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