Playback state of mind

Mark Tanner hits the record button for three of this issue’s scores


Handel Capriccio: This is a great piece to check your recording for a) not accelerati­ng through the rising sequences, b) not hunching up the shoulders in trickier places, e.g. where both hands are playing semiquaver­s (bar 11), and c) not allowing the right elbow to wiggle around too much when negotiatin­g the upward arpeggio-type figuration­s (bars 4, 6 etc).

Satie Valse-Ballet: Sustaining a visibly and audibly easygoing waltz pace, and at the same time gaining maximum value from the dynamic contrasts that pepper the page, are among the greater challenges in this piece. Try recording brief snippets, RH separately, while using the LH to tap under the wrist from time to time (do this when you are actually recording!) to ensure you have a fully relaxed, supple wrist for Satie’s limpid quaver patterns. Now swap around, using the RH to check for a relaxed LH when practising its chordal accompanim­ent.

Chopin Grande Valse Brillante Op 18: An area that will certainly be worth reviewing on your recordings is the repeated notes, which are best dispatched lightly from close to the keys, and the challengin­g grace note section in B flat minor from bar 133. This may benefit from being recorded at a variety of speeds, RH alone, to ensure maximum dance-like ease of mobility and zero tension (look for signs of this in a tightening of the neck, elbow and wrist, making the desired effect virtually unachievab­le!).

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