Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer Music Fun with Piano Duos (or Trios!)

My summer term is officially over! My husband and I are heading up to Maine bright and early tomorrow morning for a brief, but much needed, vacation. I'm really looking forward to the trip, a chance to get a brief break from teaching, and a week off from playing at church.

When I get back, it will be about time for choir to start back up for the fall. I've already received a huge stack of music from the choir director that I'll need to start looking at upon my return (right now it's still in my music bag- I'm avoiding it until post-vacation).

While I'm looking forward to choir, the past few weeks at church have provided some great opportunities for collaborative music, something I'm a big fan of, as you well know if you've been reading my blog for a while. :) I wanted to share some of that music with fellow teachers because I've had so much fun sharing this music with our congregation. While most of this isn't sacred music, it makes a fun change from the usual, and is perfect for lighter fare over the summer months.

The first piece is a piano trio titled "Out...Standing" by Kevin Olson. It was a blast to play! I performed this along with our organist and her daughter. You only need 1 piano because the third person stands behind the bench and plays from there- sometimes high, sometimes low, and sometimes in the middle of the keyboard. It takes a little bit of coordination to get smooth execution, but we really had so much fun working on this piece that I'd recommend it highly.

If you're looking for a beautiful, easily accessible duo arrangement of Pachelbel's Canon this version by Denes Agay is an excellent choice. My little sister and I played this for a prelude last week. The piece is very tastefully arranged and the melody weaves between the two parts so that each performer gets their time to shine!

Catherine Rollin's "Valse Sentimentale a Deux" is another lovely, lyrical duet. The haunting melody and flowing lines of this beautiful piece make it as enjoyable to listen to as it is to play!

Finally, I'd like to share a delightful collection of duets by Norman Dello Joio. My sister and I played these duets years ago, but they are still as charming now as they were then. There are five pieces in this set, and whether you choose to perform a few or all five they are all winners!

Have any musicians out there heard of or used these pieces? Do you have any duet or trio treasures of your own that you find yourself constantly referring to for your own performance or with your students?

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