Category Archives: Craig Blog

Kabalevsky: Op. 27, no. 19: A Warlike Dance

Kabalevsky Op. 27 no. 19 A Warlike Dance
Played at tempo, with the correct dynamics and articulation, this piece bristles with energy. Play up the contrast of the sudden changes from forte to piano, especially the subito piano in measure 19. For the sforzando right hand notes in measure 24, I recommend the fingering of 3 and 5, which will allow an easier transition to a 1,2,4 fingering for the final chord.

Kabalevsky: Op. 27, no. 18: Sonatina

Kabalevsky Op. 27 no. 18 Sonatina
Another piece favored by editors of student collections, Sonatina makes a great recital piece. Keep the rhythms precise, and be sure to keep the left hand staccato chords lighter than the right hand legato melody. Sometimes students associate the words ‘chord’ and ‘staccato’ with ‘loud’. I think that Kabalevsky does a great job of keeping us guessing where that melody is going to end up.

Kabalevsky: Op. 27, no. 17: Dance On The Lawn

Kabalevsky Op. 27 no. 17 Dance On The Lawn
Although I prefer the alternate translation of Meadow Dance, this seems to be the more common title. Was Kabalevsky thinking of a music box when he wrote this beautiful melody? Be careful not to let the chords overpower the right hand and be careful to get a clean pedal for each new chord change.

Kabalevsky: Op. 27, no. 16: Lyrical Piece

Kabalevsky Op. 27 no. 16 Lyrical Piece
I’ve heard this piece played with great drama and a heavy pedal. If one follows the score, it’s clear that the dynamics are actually quite understated and the role of the pedal is very specific; to allow the low quarter notes to extend to the next set of eighth notes. I’m using a half pedal to get a bell or chime effect. There’s an undercurrent of menace with that beautiful, spiraling melody underscored by the rhythmically insistent left hand. Wouldn’t this make a great theme for a murder mystery? I really like the way the ground falls away beneath your feet in measure 17, as the key changes.

Kabalevsky: Op. 27, no. 15: March

Kabalevsky Op. 27 no. 15 March
Another great staccato study. In measures 17 and 18 I found that I preferred to use the right hand fingering of 3,2,1,3,2,3,1,2. Sorry to sound like a broken record, but be sure to bring out the contrast between the brief middle section (only eight measures) and the rest of the piece.

Kabalevsky: Op. 27, no. 14: Scherzo

Kabalevsky Op. 27 no. 14 Scherzo
This Scherzo includes a number of important techniques, including staccato articulation, chromatic fingerings and hand crossing. Bring out the rhythmic figure of dotted quarter note, followed by three eighth notes, which is an important unifying device. I find this piece a great example of how Kabalevsky was able to create completely unique soundscapes within these miniatures.

Kabalevsky: Op. 27, no. 13: A Little Joke

Kabalevsky Op. 27 no. 13 A Little Joke
Ready for a great exercise to help develop a light and even touch? Look no further! When playing the five-note figure, place all fingers in contact with the keys before initiating the sequence. This will allow you get the lightest possible touch, which is exactly what Leggierissimo means.

Kabalevsky: Op. 27, no. 12: Toccatina

Kabalevsky Op. 27 no. 12 Toccatina
One of Kabalevsky’s greatest hits, Toccatina is a delight from start to finish. The melody stays in the left hand, and the right hand carries the accompaniment, which is presented in first inversion chords. The consistent hand shape makes this piece comparatively easy to play. Focus on bringing out the melody and keeping the rhythm between the hands taut and precise.

Kabalevsky: Op. 27, no. 11: Rondo

Kabalevsky Op. 27 no. 11 Rondo
Follow the dynamic and articulation markings to emphasize the contrast between the two sections. The very Russian sounding melody in thirds is the perfect foil to the lyrical legato melody (also in thirds). Use the given fingerings to keep the legato sections connected without resorting to the damper pedal.

Kabalevsky: Op. 27, no. 10: Clowning

Kabalevsky Op. 27 no. 10 Clowning
The trick here is to keep your hands out of one another’s way. The best way to achieve this is to keep your left hand further in from the right hand. Make sure to use a strict staccato – otherwise you’ll find the key still down when the right hand needs it. Use care when engaging and releasing the una corda pedal as the keyboard will shift slightly.

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San Jose Piano Teacher

Piano lessons are taught in my San Jose home, conveniently located near Willow Glen, Almaden, Evergreen, Santa Teresa, Campbell and Morgan Hill.

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