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Chopin's Fantasie-Impromptu

Chopin's life and works, only
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Postby tony » 13 Apr 2005, 17:56

Goldberg wrote:I know this thread is for the Fantasie Impromptu (I really can't figure out why it's in its own little sticky thread...), but I thought I'd poke in and submit that my favourite impromptu is the Gb major one, which may be the least recognised one in the set (or not?). It's not exactly tops on my "favourite" lists, for sure, except when compared to the other impromptus. The Gb major one just seems to exhibt Chopin at one of his most characteristic moments, or at least in my mind, with him improvising almost entirely for himself, creating a serene backdrop against which he can test new ideas in his mind and sort himself out; it seems to me to be a very introverted little piece.

Anyone else care for this one? I actually don't mind the FI that much, but that's because I only hear it about three times a year on average...come to think of it, I never really obsessed over the piece either; on the CD I had originally with all the "best of" Chopin pieces (my early CD collection was hilarious), the pieces I most often listened to were the Heroic Polonaise, Revolutionary Etude, and Cello Polonaise...annnd, I've pretty much exhausted myself of those pieces, save the first one, which is "coming back" now...

Annnnyway, off topic. What does everyone think of the Gb major impromptu?
Well, before I finnished playing the fantasy impromptu, I only new of the same one but, then after I heard this one and am almost done learning it and love it(maybe almost more).
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Postby Max » 14 Apr 2005, 12:38

Yeah, the other Impromptus are IMO much better than the Fantasie..especially #3
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Postby Amnesia » 05 May 2005, 16:51

I'm ashamed to say that I still haven't heard any recordings of Chopin's impromptus except of course his FI. Which ones are worth listening to?? Any recordings in particular?
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Postby Mephisto » 06 May 2005, 03:36

Rubinstein has recorded them.
I like no2 the most. But no3 is also great.

-The Mephisto

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Postby kmicic » 08 Jul 2005, 18:13

Amnesia wrote:I'm ashamed to say that I still haven't heard any recordings of Chopin's impromptus except of course his FI. Which ones are worth listening to?? Any recordings in particular?

Murray Perahia CBS Masterworks MK 39708 - all Impromtus and Barcarolle, Barceuse, Fantaisie op.49
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Postby b3n » 09 Jul 2005, 02:32

The middle section is my favorite part of this work. :)
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Postby Jeliness2 » 03 Sep 2005, 12:35

Wow, I am actually picking this one up again I get to play it for some cowboy people :?(or something?). Fun Fun! Tut Tut.

lol, my teacher was like talking at me while I was playing, and she kind of sounded like a football coach before a game to a team.

"Ok, it's gotta sound fluttery, but subtle until that point (points finger to arch of a phrase), in which we're quickly crescendo but pull back slower... OK!....... (Gets to middle part) alright, this needs to sound pleading! little push up!....and down.... (what?)"
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Postby lol_nl » 02 Feb 2006, 12:39

When is a good time to start practising this piece? Could you give me an idea of what other pieces you should be playing when studying that piece :D?
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Postby Daedalus » 25 Apr 2006, 15:54

You should probably do Hanon/Czerny's school of velocity if you want to start on this piece for speed, precision, and independence. Start once you've gained enough confidence to play it, but don't over exert yourself. Careful of the cross rhythms- they're the trickiest part.

Postby johnmar78 » 27 Jun 2006, 20:11

hi there, nice work.

I just gave a concert for father Jerzys silver Jubilee. and ather is Polish. He loved Chopin. Of course, I played the op66....

To be honest, if you got the brians, just work slowly and play slowly for under 1 hour a day(this is what I do -2 hours a week). This requires a light playing and deep heavy playing to start off, with out using any emotional energy. Just repeat the tune 3-5 times And it would be more efficient.

There may be an exception for this..
I only use my self as an example for others. I used to train 5 hours a day when at conservatorium for 3 years. But these days my finger is up to scratch. (2 hours a week). I still do recitals. But I kept my work strict to Chopins polonase in Ab....not concerto works(too long and no time for it).

I stick to max. 12-15 page work played from memory. Perhaps my piano mod does lots benegits for my hands already.-see piano section.
Thanks you

I hope this helps.
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the fantasie

Postby mike_like_piano » 05 Jul 2006, 02:02

Hi I have recently decided to try the fantasie impromptu and was wondering what you guys that about it? Im 14 and have been playing 4 years....heh i feel ashamed to admit it but I have no repertoire really, (I've played Mozart's Sonata in C K.545 and picked up fur elise in 4 days, other than that ive been playing many songs of low level) but I really love the piece. Ive played through the first page in a little more than two weeks and surprisingly found the cross-rhythms much easier than expected. What I'm worried about is the arpeggio-like part with the right hand, my hands are smallish for a 14 yr old and getting the octaves and two notes imbetween up to speed is seemingly impossible. If I take the time to learn this part do you all think I should go with this piece? I don't want to go halfway and quit.

Postby johnmar78 » 06 Jul 2006, 16:22

there are many pianist with small hands but you dnt need a giant to play the piano vice versa. As long as you can reach an octave ?? should be fine. I have not go a big hands but reach a tenth is just a borderline...
Chopin and mozart hasnt got a large hands too.

Anyway, you got the brians thats what counts..this forum is to share the experience and YOU should not be ashamed of.
Start slowly play the whole piece, make sure you hear every single notes you played. Speed will build up eventually, since you only played for four years. You have to wait (up to concert speed/standars) for a while. But dnt give it up.
I hope this helps
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Postby PJF » 13 Jul 2006, 04:23

About the "Fantasie-Impromptu" (spelling doesn't make or break a performance, lol!)

How to begin.

The first task is to learn the left and right hand parts separated, each at the same tempo, no pedal and with a metronome set to the downbeats, (beats one and three).

What is the correct practice tempo?

The correct practice tempo is the one that allows you to play the most accurately (and thus, artistically) without seizing up from going too slow or too fast. Yes, going too slow will cause you to freeze just as much as going way too fast! If you practice too slowly, you will develop a note-wise performance. You must go fast enough to develop a sense of musical narrative, as if you are telling a very interesting story to a good friend. You should be trying to tell your "musical story" as clearly as possible. The trick is to find the fastest tempo in which you are in perfect control, technically (of course!) but more importantly, aurally and musically! The correct tempo will probably be pretty slow, but never arbitrarily slow.

You need to develop a sense of gently rocking in the l.h., playing accurately without consciously pressing each key. Just concentrate on the bottoms and the tops of the arpeggios.

Do the same in the r.h., being careful not to go faster than you can maintain control while at the same time not going too slow or tensing up. Continuity is the goal here. Work on developing a seamless legato in both hands. Practicing without the pedal will help you find the minimum amount of energy needed.

It's a simple problem of alignment. (How to coordinate.)

When you can play the l.h. and r.h parts separately, from start to finish without any breaks, you are ready to combine the two into one. Try to coordinate first on the common beats. To do this, play the first and fourth notes (the bottom and top) of the l.h. sextuplets while playing the complete r.h. You will develop a strong sense of structure that will later carry a strong performance. This way you don't have to master the tricky 3 against 4 rhythm before you begin making music. It is far easier to go from the general to the specific than from the specific to the general! If you properly align the common beats, the details take care of themselves.

To make an analogy...

It's like building a house, the foundation is first (that's the l.h.) the frame is second (coordinating the common beats) and the tiny detail of the roof tiles (the 3 against 4 rhythm) is last. Working first on the details of the "Fantasie-Impromptu" would be like building a house by decorating it before the foundation was in.

Coordinating the Whole

Your entire body should be flexible to allow fluid movement. Rock gently from left to right with the beat. This gentle rocking will generate the initial momentum needed to acheive alignment. All you have to do is transfer that momentum through your body and into the piano.

The keys to mastering this piece are coordination and energy management. If a part feels "impossible" stop, close your eyes, take a deep breath and tell yourself that it most certainly is possible. You just don't know how to do it yet. Patience comes in handy, here.

Tommorow, I'll explain how to increase the tempo.

Am I the only one with a headache after all that? LOL! I want some feedback and any questions from students and teachers alike!

Happy Practicing!
Last edited by PJF on 01 Mar 2007, 20:08, edited 1 time in total.
Per Sapientiam Felicitas!

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Postby johnmar78 » 13 Jul 2006, 17:14

I liked the way you helping the piano community .
By the way, I asked my wife that how much time i spend on piano each day...she reckon I did several sessions...20 minutes at least by 3 or 4 per day..--1.5 hour a day.

On the weekend I have to admit that I spend more than 2 hours.
These days I do recitals-2-3 times a year and kept me polishing the old tunes-20 piece to choose from. Thast why my reportoire it NEVER ran out.
You know what I mean.

I tried to fit my schedure that best suit the life I am living right now.
0p 31 is comming soon and I can looking for some other pieces to master.
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Postby MindenBlues » 04 Aug 2006, 04:21

Pete, your tips are very helpful, I think.

By the way, I would find the tips the same amount helpful if written without any artificial enhancements (color, font). The content speaks for itself.

Isn't it the same for piano playing? Art is what counts (the content), no artifical things (the cover)...

Regarding Fantaisie Impromptus, in my case it helped too to not only practise hand separated, but too, memorize hand separated (beside the slow middle part). The FI is my performance piece number 1 - sounds impressive, but is in reality surprisingly easy from the technical point of view (also from the memorizing point of view). So an ideal performance piece...
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