Klavierstück: Six Pieces for Piano, Op. 118, Ballade

Klavierstück: Six Pieces for Piano, Op. 118, Ballade

Johannes Brahms

Claire-Marie Le Guay's masterclasses

French 1 h 6 min Piano

In this masterclass, Claire-Marie Le Guay and student Wenjia Guo examine respiration and the process of 'evoking' a story through piano performance.

Produced by the Saline royale Academy in November, 2020 at Arc-et-Senans.

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The masterclass

About this piano masterclass

In this masterclass, Claire-Marie Le Guay accentuates the concept of ‘evoking’ or telling a story when playing music. As master and student journey through the beginning, middle, and end of this piece, Le Guay emphasizes the importance of ‘breathing’ with the phrases in order to organically move with the music. Likewise, the master underlines that it is through breathing that the pianist can create a full sound and transmit the energy required in order to accomplish a masterful performance of Brahms’ Six Pieces for Piano.

Other elements that are discussed include hand posture, modulation, pianissimo dynamics, articulation between thirds and sixths (chords), and Brahms’ distinctive use of a deep bass.

 

What we will learn in this masterclass

  1. Finding direction in the work and the performance.

  2. Better understanding of harmony.

  3. Evoking a story. 

  4. Breathing naturally with the phrases.

  5. Posture and a balanced weight of the hand for best results.

Johannes Brahms’ six pieces include Intermezzo in A minor (Allegro non assai, ma molto appassionato), Intermezzo in A major (Adante teneramente), Ballade in G minor (Allegro energico), Intermezzo in F minor (Allegretto un poco agitato), Romanze in F major (Adante), and Intermezzo in E flat minor (Adante, largo e mesto). This beloved collection of solo piano compositions was completed in 1893 and was written for Clara Josephine Schumann, a reputable pianist in the Romantic era (approx. 1798-1850).

  • Student:Wenjia Guo
  • Instruments: Piano
  • Date:06 November 2020
  • Academy:Academy Nov. 1 - Nov. 8, 2020
Claire-Marie Le Guay

Claire-Marie Le Guay

What does it mean to breathe? After a sentence, are we going to take a breath? Yes. We may not realize it but we do it naturally. Before we speak, we breathe. With music, it’s the same because you must speak, or rather, sing the music through the piano.

Claire-Marie Le Guay

Sheet music

Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this piano masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to Claire-Marie Le Guay’s feedback and comments.

Claire-Marie Le Guay

Claire-Marie Le Guay

First prize winner at International Contest of Chamber Music of Portogruaro in Italy (1990).

Claire-Mairie Le Guay is a highly sought-after solo pianist who has performed with many prestigious conductors and orchestras, including Orchestre de Paris, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, the New Japan Philharmonic, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. She is a prizewinner of numerous international competitions, including the Victoires de la Musique and the Banque Populaire Foundation. Le Guay has performed recitals at many leading festivals, among them the Festival International de Piano de La Roque d’Anthéron, the MDR Musiksommer, Klavier-Festival Ruhr in Germany, and the Lockenhaus Festival in Austria. Her recordings of Liszt, Schumann, Hadyn, Mozart, and Dutilleux have all been noted and praised by the press such as the Pianiste, Choc de Classica, Diapason, Gramophone, and Mirare. Claire-Marie Le Guay attaches great importance to musical transmission, a passion that has led her to participate in ‘Au coeur d’une oeuvre’ a concert series that took place from 2014-2017 at the Salle Gaveau in Paris, as well as a series of concert-lectures entitled ‘Concerts Guidés’. Since 2012, Le Guay has collaborated with the Opéra de Dijon in presenting various pedagogical projects, and has developed an educational project for families at the Aix-en-Provence Easter Festival. In 2015, Claire-Marie Le Guay was appointed Eisenhower Fellow in recognition of her commitment to the popularization and transmission of classical music. She has been a professor at the Académie de Musique Française of the École Normale de Musique de Paris since 2002 and is the Artistic Director of the Festival international de musique de Dinard.

Brahms

Johannes Brahms

Born in Hamburg, Germany on May 7, 1833, Johannes Brahms was the son of musician Johann Jakob Brahms. Johannes Brahms began his musical education learning the piano, cello, and horn. From the age of 7-years-old, he studied the piano under Otto Friedrich Willibald Cossel.

Composer, pianist, and conductor, Brahms began his career at the end of the classical tradition (approx. 1730-1820) and established himself as a central figure in classical music’s Romantic era. His first concert tour took place in 1853 where he built a deep camaraderie with fellow musician, Robert Schumann.

His first major work presented to the public was Concerto No. 1 for piano and orchestra in D minor, which was performed by himself in Leipzig in 1859. In 1863, he moved to Vienna, where he was appointed conductor of Singakademie (Singing academy), which he would leave only a year later.

By 1868, Brahms achieved fame throughout Europe for the premiere of his renowned work German Requiem. Other notable works by Brahms include but are not limited to: Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, op. 15, Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, op. 24, Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, op. 25, Cello Sonata No. 1 in E minor, op. 38 Symphony No. 1 in C minor, op. 68, Violin Concerto in D major, op. 77 Symphony No. 3 in F major, op. 78 Symphony No. 4 in E minor, op. 98, and Cello Sonata No. 2 in F major, op. 99 Quintet with Clarinet in B minor, Op. 115. Brahms has been lauded for his deep understanding of formal construction and his rendering of melodic richness, harmonic complexity, and his mastery to achieve a myriad of moods and atmosphere.

Johannes Brahms passed away on April 3,1897, in Vienna.

Photo credit: Fritz Luckhardt

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