Category Archives: Craig Blog

Kabalevsky: Op. 27, no. 9: Little Fable

Kabalevsky Op. 27 no. 9 Little Fable
Although very short (27 seconds!), this little miniature still packs a wallop. It reminds me of a roller coaster ride – an exciting, fun-filled adventure that’s over much too soon. This is a great way to practice your staccato while working to keep your hands perfectly in sync.

Kabalevsky: Op. 27, no. 8: Cradle Song

Kabalevsky Op. 27 no. 8 Cradle Song
Kabalevsky maintains a mysterious nocturnal mood throughout this lullaby (I love those beautiful seventh chords). Bring out the melody as it travels between the hands. Notice that when the melody returns to the right hand in measure 32 it’s an inversion of the first entrance in measure 3. At this point, you might be wondering “what sort of childhood did Kabalevsky have?” Of the first ten selection, 7 are written in a minor key and some are downright gloomy.

Kabalevsky: Op. 27, no. 7: Old Dance

Kabalevsky Op. 27 no. 7 Old Dance
A short neo-classical minuet. Make the most of the contrast between the A and B sections. During the second section, be sure to sustain the left hand E for its full value. The ornaments should begin on the beat.

Kabalevsky: Op. 27, no. 6: Sad Story

Kabalevsky Op. 27 no. 6 Sad Story
This is one of my favorites. The story is certainly sad, but also thrilling, with chromaticism and adventurous harmonies. When those low fifths kick in towards the end you know that you’re hearing a great composer at work. Notice how the clouds part at the very end as the story draws to a close with an F major chord. How’re your speakers? If you listen closely at the end, you’ll hear Shirley in the background saying “That piece is so depressing…” She didn’t realize that I was recording!

Kabalevsky: Op. 27, no. 5: Playing Ball

Kabalevsky Op. 27 no. 5 Playing Ball
This is a tricky (maybe even devilish) etude, but it’s certainly fun, too. I chose to use the given fingering of 4,3,2 for the repeated figure even though I found the fingering of 3,2,1 to be easier. This piece forces your hands to constantly move and move fast. Make sure to bring out the dynamics – they’re vital to give this piece some necessary variety.

Kabalevsky: Op. 27, no. 4: Night on the River

Kabalevsky Op. 27 no. 4 Night on the River
As Alfred de Musset said, “The saddest songs are the most beautiful ones.” Well, that’s the translation, anyways. It sounds to me that Kabalevsky is channelling his inner Mussorgsky here. I especially like the delicious dissonance of the A sharp and the A natural in measure 12. If you play those two notes together they sound terrible, but in the context of the music they sound beautiful.

Kabalevsky: Op. 27, no. 3: Etude in A Minor

Kabalevsky Op. 27 no. 3 Etude in A Minor
Fasten your seat belt! I chose not to use any pedal here, wanting to keep the melody line as clean as possible. This is a fun way to work on your A harmonic scale – playing it made me wish I’d spent more time on scales when I was a young student! When playing fast, do your best to keep your fingers close to the keys and in the proper position.

Kabalevsky: Op. 27, no. 2: Ditty

Kabalevsky Op. 27 no. 2 Ditty
Here’s an example of Kabalevsky at his most lyrical. For a piece named ‘Ditty’, it certainly sets a melancholy mood. I love the descending chromatic intervals in the left hand against the gentle right hand melody. Be careful not to rush the half note rest in measure 15.

Kabalevsky: Op. 27, no. 1: Waltz Time

Kabalevsky Op. 27, no. 1 Waltz Time
Notice the complete lack of rhythmic variation: just two note slurs, one after the other. (Be sure to observe the 8th note rests in the left hand.) The interest lies in the harmonic surprises and the beautiful melody. Let it sing out.

Kabalevsky: The Op. 27 Project

This month I’ll be recording Dmitri Kabalevsy’s Op. 27, Thirty Pieces for Children. A couple of my students used selections from this collection for their MTAC Certificate of Merit exams in March. I think that they’re a great way to introduce students to 20th century piano music and I hope that you’ll enjoy them, too!

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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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