Turina - Conchita Reve Op 56 No 6
Joaquin Turina (1882-1949) was a Spanish composer who was a contemporary of the Spanish composers, Albeniz and de Falla and the French composers, Ravel and Debussy, whom he got to know when he moved to live in Paris from 1905-1913.
Besides piano music, Turina wrote operas, chamber music and songs. Turina lived from 1914 until his death in Madrid and his music shows the influence of Spanish folk idioms.
This particular piece is from the second suite of Ninerias, which was dedicated to his daughter, Conchita. The title means 'Conchita Dreams'. Among the other tracks are Conchita Enters, Conchita at School, Conchita Cries and Children's Carnival.
Follow the link to the official Turina website:
Pupil Match & Suitability
This is a piece for an imaginative student who has a wide tonal range and can play with both delicacy and power.
There are chords that span in excess of an octave in the LH, to be played fortissimo, although it is possible to play the widest compass ones staggered without detracting from the mood and style.
Double dotted rhythms need to be understood and played with precision, yet rubato is needed elsewhere. There should be an empathy with the Spanish idiom, since this is reflected in Turina's composition style.
Style & Tempo
The style of the piece is typical of Turina, greatly influenced by Spanish folk music and rhythms, with quite abrupt changes of mood. The Spanish guitar is never far from our thoughts when listening to Turina's music.
The style is demonstrated here by Janko Raseta, playing Turina's Garrotin from Hommage a Tarrega.
Phrasing & Articulation
The growth of the piece is almost organic, like a seed that germinates into a growing plant, or the germ of an idea that develops into a whole sequence of related events - such is the stuff of dreams!
Encourage your student to create a dream-like story line to help them to define the phrasing meaningfully. Encourage shape in the phrasing, created by subtle gradations in tone and in pace - this is the essence of effective rubato.
The phrase markings are the guide as to the degree of detail needed and students should take care to express the composer's intentions. Listen to the phrasing shape here in Bars 17 - 22.
Tone & Texture
By this stage the student should have sufficient technical command of balancing the tone to be able to produce a singing melody line.
The big dynamic contrasts are an essential stylistic feature that also create a sense of character. They should not be neglected. Listen to the big contrasts here in Maso's playing of Bars 4 - 10.
Those innocent-looking quavers in LH Bars 2, 4 and 5 can be problematic. The tendency is to over-emphasise the low A due to being anxious to find the next chord.
At the learning stage, time needs to be taken. Ask your student to consciously give themselves extra time here, playing the A very quietly and holding it with the pedal until they are ready to play the next chord.
The next stage is to encourage speed of movement in between the note A and the next chord, but not until the A has truly finished - it must not be rushed, but neither should the next chord be delayed. Certainty of hand position for the next chord is essential, looking at the LH since the RH does not move far.
Staying poised is the key to success. Watching the frantic movements of an organist coping with two hands, three manuals, many pedals and stops, whilst remaining perfectly poised, can be both amusing and instructive, helping most pianists to make light of this little difficulty!
Common sense will usually guide us to in the more obvious fingering choices such as use of Finger 3 for the first D of Bars 7 and 8.
The LH will sound better if played smoothly where possible too, hence 2/5 then 1/4 are used in Bar 1.
The techniques of finger changing and finger crossing are also needed for this piece.
Pedalling is essential in this piece despite the fact that none is indicated in the score. By this stage some student pianists will be pedalling this kind of piece intuitively, but most will need your clear guidance.
The two issues here are:
1) pedalling to help maintain legato where the fingers cannot, such as in some of the chords in Bars 25 - 28 and in the final bars
2) pedalling for tone enhancement, which is just as important.
Since the texture is uncomplicated the melodic lines are easily identified, so some students may be able to learn the first page, at least, with hands together.
Due care must be taken however to use fingering that enables legato, such as in the first bar where finger changing is necessary in the RH.
Each phrase needs to be explored, rather than simply playing through and the student should be guided in building up a mental map of the structure of the music, based on the outline provided in the sections here on Phrasing and Articulation.
Understanding the chord sequences will help with memory - compare, for instance, the chords used in Bars 7 - 10 with those in Bars 11 - 14.
A definite plan should be followed. It makes sense for the piece to be learned in stages so that the connections between the early phrases and the later ones may be understood. Consistent, sensible fingering must be established early.
Make accuracy of Bars 15 - 16 one of the first practice tasks, remembering that these must fit into context of the bar before and the bar after.
The technique needed for playing the low quavers in Bars 2, 4 and 5 should be practised and work should be undertaken with a musical focus in mind, for example balancing the chords successfully in the second half of the piece as well as getting the notes right.
You may have taught this carefully, yet slow music tends to suffer from insidious timing errors because the longer notes are often cut a little short - watch out for this especially in bars such as 7 - 14, RH part.
Rhythmic certainty is an absolute priority here. It is not possible to hide behind a kind of rubato to mask misread rhythms!
In particular, Bars 15 - 16 should not be allowed to slow down, which is why extra focused practice of Bars 14 - 17 is recommended, not just working on these two bars in isolation.
Turina - Conchita Reve Grade 7 Level
A complete performance may be heard here played by Antonio Soria.
An excellent performance is one in which effortless technical control with sensitive use of phrasing and imaginative colouring of textures will allow the performer to paint a vivid picture of the little Spanish girl dreaming.
A wide dynamic range will be used, with assured pedalling and the pace will be well judged, with expressive use of rubato.
A good performance will share some, but not all of the above qualities. Musical intentions with regard to character and style will be shown in expressive detail and fluency will be secure although technique may not be as polished, giving perhaps less successfully balanced textures, a more restricted dynamic range or less convincing use of rubato.
A sound performance will be have reliable continuity. A performance in which the rhythms are clearly insecure will not meet with a positive result in an examination, whereas the odd smudge in note accuracy will be tolerated. There will be some variety in dynamics, sustaining pedal will be used and some sense of phrase will be evident.