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College Repertoire Question

Posted By: D959

College Repertoire Question - 08/11/19 08:28 PM

So I'm getting ready to apply for colleges next Spring, but I have a few questions about auditions.

First, most of the colleges I'm applying at require "at least 2 contrasting pieces from the baroque, classical, romantic, impressionistic and contemporary periods."
My question is this: when they require at least 2, does that mean I should bring more than 2? Or just 2? I know these things only last 10 min or so, so I'm not sure how I'd even get through that much music.

Second question: For my pieces I'm polishing, I have

Beethoven Op. 78 (Polished already, also my favorite Beethoven sonata.)
Brahms Op. 21 no 1

Are these contrasting enough? I could add a Bach partita as well...
Posted By: achoo42

Re: College Repertoire Question - 08/11/19 10:01 PM

A Bach partita would be far more contrasting than Brahms and Beethoven, although both are already contrasting since they're from different periods.

Brahms is a bit more Beethoven-like than most other Romantic composers but nobody's going to question whether or not they're different styles.
Posted By: Andamento

Re: College Repertoire Question - 08/13/19 10:31 PM

Originally Posted by D959
So I'm getting ready to apply for colleges next Spring, but I have a few questions about auditions.

First, most of the colleges I'm applying at require "at least 2 contrasting pieces from the baroque, classical, romantic, impressionistic and contemporary periods."
My question is this: when they require at least 2, does that mean I should bring more than 2? Or just 2? I know these things only last 10 min or so, so I'm not sure how I'd even get through that much music.

Second question: For my pieces I'm polishing, I have

Beethoven Op. 78 (Polished already, also my favorite Beethoven sonata.)
Brahms Op. 21 no 1

Are these contrasting enough? I could add a Bach partita as well...


First question: I'd prepare more than two, especially because, as achoo42 points out, Brahms is rather Beethoven-like. I think you need another composer in there who's very different.

As far as the audition lasting only 10 minutes or so, I don't think you need to limit the repertoire you choose to no more than 10 minutes total playing time. My guess is they would simply have you play excerpts from each of your chosen pieces if playing them in their entirety would go over the allotted time, given that they specified a minimum number of pieces (two) rather than a maximum amount of time.

You could ask ahead of time, though, to make sure of this. But I'm inclined to think the contrasting aspect of the pieces is more important than the time it takes to play them in their entirety.

Second question: I, personally, don't believe those particular pieces of Beethoven's and Brahms' are contrasting enough. Yes, they're in different historical style periods, but the Beethoven is from his middle period, and the Brahms is an early opus number, so there are even more Classical leanings in Brahms' work at that point, whereas the Beethoven is getting closer to the time where his music sounds more Romantic than Classical.

An early work of Beethoven along with a later work of Brahms might be a better contrast.

But I'm not on the auditions committee, so my musings may not apply at all. smile

Adding a Bach partita to the mix is a great idea!

One other thought: Your Beethoven is polished already. Will you be sick of playing the piece by next spring in your effort to keep it polished? Do you or your present instructor have a plan to keep it maintained -- fresh, but not exhausted or bored with it?

Good luck to you! Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms are three of my favorite composers. (Especially the first two.)
Posted By: BDB

Re: College Repertoire Question - 08/14/19 12:01 AM

The question I would have, and ask them directly, is whether they want you to pick two pieces from each of those periods, or two pieces, period.
Posted By: D959

Re: College Repertoire Question - 08/14/19 03:50 AM

Originally Posted by Andamento
Originally Posted by D959
So I'm getting ready to apply for colleges next Spring, but I have a few questions about auditions.

First, most of the colleges I'm applying at require "at least 2 contrasting pieces from the baroque, classical, romantic, impressionistic and contemporary periods."
My question is this: when they require at least 2, does that mean I should bring more than 2? Or just 2? I know these things only last 10 min or so, so I'm not sure how I'd even get through that much music.

Second question: For my pieces I'm polishing, I have

Beethoven Op. 78 (Polished already, also my favorite Beethoven sonata.)
Brahms Op. 21 no 1

Are these contrasting enough? I could add a Bach partita as well...


First question: I'd prepare more than two, especially because, as achoo42 points out, Brahms is rather Beethoven-like. I think you need another composer in there who's very different.

As far as the audition lasting only 10 minutes or so, I don't think you need to limit the repertoire you choose to no more than 10 minutes total playing time. My guess is they would simply have you play excerpts from each of your chosen pieces if playing them in their entirety would go over the allotted time, given that they specified a minimum number of pieces (two) rather than a maximum amount of time.

You could ask ahead of time, though, to make sure of this. But I'm inclined to think the contrasting aspect of the pieces is more important than the time it takes to play them in their entirety.

Second question: I, personally, don't believe those particular pieces of Beethoven's and Brahms' are contrasting enough. Yes, they're in different historical style periods, but the Beethoven is from his middle period, and the Brahms is an early opus number, so there are even more Classical leanings in Brahms' work at that point, whereas the Beethoven is getting closer to the time where his music sounds more Romantic than Classical.

An early work of Beethoven along with a later work of Brahms might be a better contrast.

But I'm not on the auditions committee, so my musings may not apply at all. smile

Adding a Bach partita to the mix is a great idea!

One other thought: Your Beethoven is polished already. Will you be sick of playing the piece by next spring in your effort to keep it polished? Do you or your present instructor have a plan to keep it maintained -- fresh, but not exhausted or bored with it?

Good luck to you! Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms are three of my favorite composers. (Especially the first two.)



This is very helpful!

I was also considering learning Brahms' Op. 119 no 4, or 118 no 5 (the latter is a bit easy though, and I would like a more technical piece in the mix as well). Would these be better choices?

Also, would a P&F be a better choice than a partita? I have already learned quite a few of them and could revive one of them and polish it fairly quickly.

As for the Beethoven, it will absolutely hold my interest for that long. It's one of my single favorite classical compositions for piano, along with the Schubert D959. I never get tired of listening to it or playing it..something about that second movement is just so comfortable. On the other hand, I do have a couple early Beethoven sonatas in my rep as well (Op 2 no 3, and Op 10 no 1 -- I don't care for the former very much if I'm being honest).

Also, should I consider adding a Chopin etude to the list? My teacher has been talking about working me through the Ocean etude for the last 2 months or so.

Thanks again for your comments. I really appreciate the advice!
Posted By: Andamento

Re: College Repertoire Question - 08/14/19 05:18 PM

Originally Posted by D959
Originally Posted by Andamento
Originally Posted by D959
So I'm getting ready to apply for colleges next Spring, but I have a few questions about auditions.

First, most of the colleges I'm applying at require "at least 2 contrasting pieces from the baroque, classical, romantic, impressionistic and contemporary periods."
My question is this: when they require at least 2, does that mean I should bring more than 2? Or just 2? I know these things only last 10 min or so, so I'm not sure how I'd even get through that much music.

Second question: For my pieces I'm polishing, I have

Beethoven Op. 78 (Polished already, also my favorite Beethoven sonata.)
Brahms Op. 21 no 1

Are these contrasting enough? I could add a Bach partita as well...


First question: I'd prepare more than two, especially because, as achoo42 points out, Brahms is rather Beethoven-like. I think you need another composer in there who's very different.

As far as the audition lasting only 10 minutes or so, I don't think you need to limit the repertoire you choose to no more than 10 minutes total playing time. My guess is they would simply have you play excerpts from each of your chosen pieces if playing them in their entirety would go over the allotted time, given that they specified a minimum number of pieces (two) rather than a maximum amount of time.

You could ask ahead of time, though, to make sure of this. But I'm inclined to think the contrasting aspect of the pieces is more important than the time it takes to play them in their entirety.

Second question: I, personally, don't believe those particular pieces of Beethoven's and Brahms' are contrasting enough. Yes, they're in different historical style periods, but the Beethoven is from his middle period, and the Brahms is an early opus number, so there are even more Classical leanings in Brahms' work at that point, whereas the Beethoven is getting closer to the time where his music sounds more Romantic than Classical.

An early work of Beethoven along with a later work of Brahms might be a better contrast.

But I'm not on the auditions committee, so my musings may not apply at all. smile

Adding a Bach partita to the mix is a great idea!

One other thought: Your Beethoven is polished already. Will you be sick of playing the piece by next spring in your effort to keep it polished? Do you or your present instructor have a plan to keep it maintained -- fresh, but not exhausted or bored with it?

Good luck to you! Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms are three of my favorite composers. (Especially the first two.)



This is very helpful!

I was also considering learning Brahms' Op. 119 no 4, or 118 no 5 (the latter is a bit easy though, and I would like a more technical piece in the mix as well). Would these be better choices?

Also, would a P&F be a better choice than a partita? I have already learned quite a few of them and could revive one of them and polish it fairly quickly.

As for the Beethoven, it will absolutely hold my interest for that long. It's one of my single favorite classical compositions for piano, along with the Schubert D959. I never get tired of listening to it or playing it..something about that second movement is just so comfortable. On the other hand, I do have a couple early Beethoven sonatas in my rep as well (Op 2 no 3, and Op 10 no 1 -- I don't care for the former very much if I'm being honest).

Also, should I consider adding a Chopin etude to the list? My teacher has been talking about working me through the Ocean etude for the last 2 months or so.

Thanks again for your comments. I really appreciate the advice!


I'm glad you found the advice helpful. smile

It sounds like the Beethoven (Op. 78) brings you much joy. That's a strong reason to keep it on your auditions list.

My general advice at this point would be to play what you love and what showcases your abilities well while working to achieve variety in your repertoire choices. Your teacher would have a better idea of which pieces you're best suited to play than I would.

That said, I LOVE the Brahms 119/4! And I agree with you that you should have a more technical piece in the mix. Either the Brahms or the Chopin Ocean Etude would make a fine choice that would contrast well with the Beethoven and a Bach piece.

I have no opinion on whether a partita or a prelude/fugue would serve you better. Again, go with the music that sparks enjoyment for you. The audition committee will be listening for more than just your technique on your chosen pieces. That "something more" -- artistry with interpretive delight behind it -- will help bring your music alive. It's my opinion that your artistry will shine through more readily in pieces you truly love.

Those are the two cents from this internet stranger. wink

Best wishes!
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