Grieg: March of the Trolls from Lyric Pieces, Op. 54, No. 3 (Intermediate)

Colorful Nordic folklore and bravura pianism are artfully combined here to forge a spooky and brilliant showpiece. As tempting as it might be to tear into the (not very difficult) first page as fast as possible, Grieg was quite right to call for a true allegro moderato. As with many of his pieces, choosing a not-too-quick speed helps bring out the music’s intriguing atmosphere and humor. Even more practically, doing so in this piece makes it possible for the leaping fortissimo octaves at measure 40 to explode thrillingly and accurately with no flagging of tempo. The rapid four-note figures that permeate the melody can also be executed, when the pace is unhurried, with a crystalline clarity that lends the piece real shivers of excitement. The editor recommends no change of tempo for the middle part, starting in measure 71. Keep the lyric phrases moving and don’t sentimentalize them.

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Shostakovich: The Mechanical Doll from Children’s Notebook for Piano, Op. 69, No. 6 (Early Intermediate)
Richard Walters
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MacDowell: To a Wild Rose from Woodland Sketches, Op. 51, No. 1 (Intermediate)
Richard Walters