Gurlitt: Morning Prayer from Albumleaves for the Young, Op. 101, No. 2 (Upper Elementary)

This serene piece is an excellent study in playing three voices simultaneously. Perhaps mindful of a younger student’s limitations, Gurlitt assigns the left hand a single voice most of the time, while the right hand, almost always the stronger hand for most novice pianists, must play two. All three voices combine in a prayerful song in chorale style. Slurs are not used here to emphasize the legato quality of the phrasing, nor is pedal indicated, but the style of this chorale obviously calls for pedal, changing with the harmonic progressions, and more accomplished pianists should enhance the seamless phrasing by employing finger-legato as well. The lower-voice quarter notes in the right hand, especially, should be played with a clinging touch. These passing tones enrich the melodic line, filling it out with a gentle counterpoint. Later in the collection, two other solos require a more sophisticated use of finger-legato with finger substitutions. This piece, therefore, serves as a good introduction to skills that return later in a more challenging form.

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Brian Ganz
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Mozart: Funeral March for Signor Maestro Contrapunto, KV 453a (Intermediate)
Elena Abend