Vidas: Let's start episode 35 of #AskVidasAndAusra podcast. Today's question was sent by Robert. He writes:
"Vidas and Ausra, I have a question for both of you. I am working on Vierne’s Symphony no. 1, movement 6 “the Finale”. What would be the most effective, fastest way to play the last part confidently? I am challenged a bit by the triplets moving against the theme in the pedals towards the end of the piece. I would appreciate any suggestions you may have. Thank you also for what you do for the organ. It is encouraging and uplifting as a full-time church musician to receive an email each day from you. You're making a difference in this world. All the best, Robert."
So, Ausra, you remember this last episode of this symphony, right?
Ausra: Yes, I remember this episode actually, it's a beautiful sonata by Louis Vierne. I think you should answer this question very well because you have played this piece.
Vidas: In my experience, Finale was complex not because of the manual finger work, right? Manual passages. In my experience the difficult spots were coordinating hands and feet, especially in the secondary theme. Primary theme was okay, but the secondary theme was kind of tricky where you have canon between one hand and the pedals. So, that was for me. When Robert says the last episode with the triplets ... recapitulation, I think?
Vidas: I think what's happening is that probably he needs to work on his manual technique more. Maybe Hanon exercises. Remember, Ausra, Vierne writes in the exposition of the first theme you have double arpeggios. Broken chords with sixteenth notes, sixth in one interval, and sixth in another. Sort of tricky configuration. In order to get this right you have to play a lot of scales with double-sixth.
Sixth intervals in each hand, that will help you. That would be too difficult at first, then maybe you start with double-thirds first. So, Hanon has this good menu of exercises, collection on this. First part, second part, and later the advanced third part where you will find the scales with double-thirds and double-sixths.
But the recapitulation is easier actually because these broken chords are broken into triplets. You have I think only first interval is a double interval and then two notes running loosely as a passage. It's easier actually. Faster notes, but not double intervals like in the beginning. What would you think in this case Ausra?
Ausra: Yes, I would suggest that you would really have to practice probably just right hand and pedal, and then left hand and pedal. And place like this because if you have coordination problem that might help.
Vidas: But you are talking about the secondary theme where you have canons. I suspect canons might be also problem for him, too. What about the last episode with the triplets?
Ausra: Just practice slowly at the beginning until you feel comfortable while playing slow, and only then you will speed it up.
Vidas: It seems that people sometimes don't have enough patience. They think that they play too slow, and they think that public performance should be very fast. It does, it has to be fast but it has to be gradual process. You don't get better overnight, I think. Sometimes, if the challenge is too much, do you think Robert might benefit from taking easier toccatas first? Boellmann, Gigout...
Ausra: Well that might be a possibility too. Even maybe Widor's staccato is easier or not? What do you think?
Vidas: It depends. If you can play staccato chords easier than triplets, then it's easier. But maybe Boellmann for starters?
Ausra: Yes, Boellmann. It's a very good place to start.
Vidas: I don't know if Robert has played this staccato or not, but it wouldn't hurt to practice easier toccatas first and then play more advanced finale movements by Vierne and Widor from symphonies. But, definitely do not rush and play really, really slowly. Enjoy this process, and know that with every practice session you are really getting better, but you might not even notice that.
Ausra: And work on some exercises, you know it will definitely help.
Vidas: Exactly. So guys, I hope this episode was useful to you.
Ausra and I were really glad that, for example, Robert is finding our daily emails so helpful. If you want more advice please subscribe at at our blog, www.organduo.lt. Just like Robert you will get a lot of benefits from getting daily advice and inspiration.
And when you subscribe, please send us your questions. We love helping you grow. But don't forget to practice. Because when you practice-
Ausra: Miracles happen.
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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