Piano Concerto No. 1 in B♭ minor, Op. 23, 2nd movement

Piano Concerto No. 1 in B♭ minor, Op. 23, 2nd movement

Piano Concerto No. 1 in B♭ minor, Op. 23, 2nd movement

Piotr Ilitch Tchaïkovski

Denis Pascal's masterclass

Produced by the Saline royale Academy French Music sheet annotated by  Denis  Pascal  is available 41 min. Piano

In this piano masterclass, Denis Pascal and Akihito Maruyama work on phrasing, articulation, and more.

Produced by the Saline royale Academy

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The masterclass

About this masterclass

In this piano masterclass, Professor Denis Pascal and student Akihito Maruyama work on Tchaikovsky’s concerto No. 1, the andantino. 

Maruyama is first told to pay close attention to his articulation, balancing, and phrasing of his interpretation. He must strive to build a more natural musical construction and keep things “as simple as possible.” Moreover, Pascal explains that the intensity comes from the sound projection, the elegance, and the vibrations, not from pure strength. In that regard, Maruyama must avoid being too heavy on the notes, and try to imitate the singer’s natural crescendo. It is also essential to pay attention to the orchestra, especially in the second part where the piano is more an accompaniment then the focus. 

Pascal emphasizes the importance of being as soft as possible and avoid cutting off the long notes. Additionally, the Professor tells his student to work on his connections, especially between repeated notes.  

What we learn in this masterclass

  1. Giving the piece personality.  

  2. Constructing natural musical phrasing. 

  3. Playing with an accompanying orchestra. 

  4. Using the appropriate touch. 

  5. Articulation.  

Piano Concerto No. 1 in B♭ minor, Op. 23 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Tchaikovsky began composing his Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor in 1874, wishing for pianist Nikolai Rubenstein to premiere it. However, Rubenstein criticized the piece, scandalized by the lack of traditional structure and excessive emotion. Tchaïkovski took offense and had Hans von Bülow premiere the work instead in 1875. The piece was a huge success with audiences, but less so with music critics. Tchaikovsky revised the piece two times, completing the final edits in 1888. Eventually, even Rubenstein came to appreciate the piece. 

The first movement, Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso – Allegro con spirito, opens with a magnificent orchestral introduction followed unexpectedly by an early piano cadenza. The rest of the movement is almost fantasy-like, with the thematic organization deviating from standard practice. In the beginning of the second movement, Andantino semplice – Prestissimo – Tempo I, the flute sets a gentle tone with a singing melody. Later, the music becomes more lively, with the piano engaging in quick passage work before settling down to the original tempo and mood. The final movement, Allegro con fuoco – Molto meno mosso – Allegro vivo, draws inspiration from a Ukrainian folk song. The rhythmic and virtuosic opening music is contrasted by a lyrical theme, but eventually drives forward to a stunning conclusion.

  • Date:05 April 2022
  • Producer: Produced by the Saline royale Academy
  • Duration:41 min.
  • Spoken language:French

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 Denis Pascal’s feedback and comments.

Sheet music piano concerto no. 1 in b♭ minor, op. 23, 2nd movement

Denis Pascal

Denis  Pascal

His monographic disc devoted to Jean Wiener for Sisyphe won a Diapason d'Or.

Denis Pascal performs in France and throughout the world as a soloist and chamber musician. He has made numerous appearances in the United States in venues such as: Lincoln Center and Merkin Hall in New York, Kennedy Center in Washington, Herbst Theater in San Francisco, and more, as well as in Asia: Yokohama Festival in Japan, Seoul, and in Europe in Palermo, Rome, Venice, Lisbon, Helsinki, Liepaja, Madrid, Valencia, etc. He is regularly invited in Germany to the prestigious Husum Piano Festival, where he performs the most audacious programs. In Paris, he has been applauded by audiences at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, the Théâtre du Châtelet, the Théâtre de la Ville, the Salle Gaveau and the Opéra Garnier, as well as at numerous international festivals. 

He has performed with the national orchestras of Lyon, Bordeaux, Besançon, Toulouse, and the Orchestre d'Auvergne. His concerts are well-thought-out: commited to maintaining a historical awareness of the repertoire, he often leaves the beaten track and gives concerts that are both striking and accessible to all, rigorously applying a consistent ethic to the Liszt repertoire, as well as to impressionist music and post-romantic scores. 

Denis Pascal was appointed professor at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Lyon in January 2010 and at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris in April 2011. Moreover, he has contributed to the elaboration of several didactic works in collaboration with the Cité de la Musique in Paris.

Tchaïkovski

Piotr Ilitch Tchaïkovski

Born in Votkinsk, Russia on April 25th, 1840, composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was the son of a metalworker and a French immigrant, and the second of six children.  

Young Pyotr showed an interest in music early on and, although destined to be a public servant at first, was placed under the care of a professional music teacher by his father shortly after the sudden death of his mother from cholera. 

He travelled through Europe extensively and settled in St-Petersburg when he was a young man, to study music at the newly founded conservatory. Tchaikovsky had a very private life that was constantly under scrutiny due to his rising fame. He married a young woman to avoid questions about his sexual orientation, but was very unhappy. By 1878, he began to write music full time after finding a patroness outside Russia and wrote most of his most famous works such as the opera Eugene Onegin, the Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, and the Violin Concerto in D Major. Tchaikovsky grew tired of his busy city life and rented a place in the countryside, where he spent his days walking, reading, and composing music. He died of cholera in 1893 at the age of 53 after drinking unboiled water. 

Tchaikovsky's legacy reaches many people thanks to a very emotionally involving and rich musical landscape that keeps seducing audiences all over the world.  

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