Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 8:11am

Diminishing Return 

David Rakowski’s 85th piano étude, on fading repeated notes, played during a take during recording sessions at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in June, 2014. The sound from Judy Sherman’s microphones has been layered into the video.

This is one of my favorites. The squareness of the rhythm makes it feel stable, though the quickly repeated diminishing figures can be challenging. And the way the voices are layered makes it really effective. In my humble opinion.

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 8:08am

Ecco Ecco 

David Rakowski’s 77th piano étude, on echoes, played during a take during recording sessions at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in June, 2014. The sound from Judy Sherman’s microphones has been layered into the video.

This one is particularly difficult, though it might not be apparent. The rapid contrasts in dynamics, which are effective but pianistically counter-intuitive, are the tricky bit.

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 8:02am

Not. 

David Rakowski’s 74th piano étude, a speaking pianist étude, played during a recording session at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, June 9, 2014. The text was written by Rick Moody. The piano is a Steinway, and the sound came from Judith Sherman’s microphones.

The piece was written in 2006 for Adam Marks, who gave its premiere, and then some.

This etude was one of the most fun to learn…and a little terrifying to perform. Coordinating an entirely separate ’speaking’ part with the already complicated piano part was a challenge! I got a little goofy around the 4:15 mark. Apologies to those with delicate sensibilities.

Monday, October 6th, 2014 6:40am

Quietude 

Here’s a nice quiet, pretty one. This is an etude on dominant 7th chords. It is dedicated to Augusta Read Thomas.

Monday, October 6th, 2014 6:38am

Narcissitude! 

Yeah, so if this one weren’t so cool in so many ways, I’d just think it was mean! Narcissitude: David Rakowski’s 79th piano étude, a fast mirror étude (the left hand is the mirror inversion of the right hand and a sixteenth note later), played during a take during recording sessions at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in June, 2014. The sound from Judy Sherman’s microphones has been layered into the video.



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