Korganov - Kleiner Waltzer Op 25 No 3
This Waltz is taken from Korganiv's Op. 25 Jugend-Album (Album for the Young), a collection of eight piano miniatures for children. Other pieces in the set include “March of the Tin Soldiers”, “Prayer”, and “Russian Dance”.
Here it is a waltz danced performed with great elegance in 19th century style:
Pupil Match & Suitability
This will suit a student who favours a graceful style. A certain presence and confidence at the piano will help in performance, since this piece is quite theatrical. A quiet or shy student can also succeed if they allow the music's charm to come through.
Impatient students or those who are haphazard in learning details will not give the best possible performance of this piece. It will reward the conscientious student who builds on a secure technical foundation and uses this control for the purpose of musical expressiveness.
An imaginative memory for sights and sounds – the movements of the waltz itself and the sounds of a little dance band – will help enhance the performance.
Both hands get a chance to provide the melody and accompaniment. The main technical challenge will be in the middle section where the articulation is very much a mixture and may be hard to coordinate correctly.
Pedalling may be used but is not essential. For small hands there is nothing of concern.
Style & Tempo
In keeping with the musical influences found in Tbilisi at this time, the style of this piece is mainstream European, with no local flavouring from Caucasian folk music.
It is a little salon-style waltz of charm and finesse, which finds clever ways of keeping the musical ball in the air, so to speak, and thereby achieves a lovely lightness.
In the middle section (bars 17-32), completely new material is used and the key changes to the relative minor, to provide a satisfying musical contrast.
Phrasing & Articulation
The phrasing of the opening is particularly elegant: the first bar is phrased as an anacrusis to the second, where the first beat skips up lightly and the music avoids any sense of arrival until the imperfect cadence in Bar 4.
Bar 8 also avoids finality, trickling away in quavers as it slows down a little. There can be a sense of taking a breath before starting up “a tempo” in the next bar.
Tone & Texture
The basic melody-plus-accompaniment texture remains throughout the piece, with the melody switching to the LH at bar 17 for 8 bars.
The main melodic idea in the RH is marked grazioso – to enrich the piano tone, imagine how it would be played by a violinist (better still, persuade a friendly and competent violinist to play it!).
Where the melody is taken over by the LH the cello is the sound to bear in mind, whilst in bars 25-32 it sounds as if the piano accompanist at last gets the chance to shine.
This is not a strenuous piece to play but it does offer a good range of technical challenges:
Unfussy slurring (Bars 2-3)
Shaping of phrases
Neat fingerwork including triplets (Bar 5)
Multi-layered accompaniment (Bar 1, 3 etc)
Controlling emphasis at quiet dynamics (Bar 29-31)
Keeping RH accompaniment balanced with LH melody (Bar 17-24)
Movement around the keyboard.
There are likely to be few problems or dilemmas with fingering, whatever the size of the hand. The main fingering choices come where notes are repeated: to change to another finger or replay the same finger?
The known articulation and required hand movement will help with choosing: if a vertical movement needs to be avoided, as in RH Bar 3 or LH Bar 21, changing the finger on a repeated note will help.
Conversely, in the context of a moving hand, such as RH Bar 2 (bouncing staccato) or Bar 4 (slurred “down-up” touch) the same finger can be used to repeat the note.
The young player who is not yet familiar with (or perhaps unable to reach) the pedal need not worry – this piece can sound good without pedal.
Equally, touches of pedal here and there for the more experienced player can enhance the playing and help to ease the legato or warm the tone.
Places where pedal could optionally be added include Bars 1, 8, 16, 29-32 and analogous bars to the end.
With its ABA form, learning the first 16 bars achieves two thirds of the piece. There are also direct repetitions within these bars, so that in terms of new bars to learn the total length of the piece is 28 bars. The middle 16 bars are so different from the first 16 that they could be treated as a separate project.
A good foundation to lay from the start is the dotted minim which underpins so many bars of LH accompaniment. They do not need to join up as a legato line but they must be held for their full value. Many students will neglect this if it is not pointed out to them and insisted upon when the LH notes are first being learned.
Slow practice is essential to ensure that this piece flows effortlessly at performance speed. There are plenty of potential trip hazards. Wherever it feels less than comfortable to keep the music going through a steady beat, that is a sign that slow practice in small chunks is required. Inattention to articulation, incorrect note values and awkward corners (especially Bars 24-25) will lower the eventual standard of performance.
To prevent all that slow practice making the music mechanical, it is also worth playing whole phrases closer to performance speed, with perhaps just one hand at a time, with all the required expression and shape.
Dynamics play an important role in shaping the music and should be added as soon as possible.
Aim for perfection every step of the way – the reward will be a real gem of a performance.
Prevention is better than cure, especially in this piece. One of the main hazards to avoid is lazy reading in the early stages. All note values, rests and articulations are to be observed. Approximate play-throughs by good sight readers will not help to develop an excellent performance, even though they may sound adequate for the time being. To do this piece justice and thrill the listener, every detail deserves its place.
After initial note learning, putting hands together may cause slippage in the accuracy of some details of rests, articulations etc. Playing the piece four bars at a time (or even two), quite slowly with full attention to all the notation should help to correct this.
Korganov Kleiner Waltzer Grade 3 Level -
A complete performance of this lovely waltz, showing a sense of style and character.
An excellent performance will sparkle, float and dance irresistibly. The joy of waltzing – whether in a grand ballroom with royalty or round a sunny garden with a friend – will charm and entertain the listener. Shapely phrasing, colourful melodic lines, artful changes of mood and supple rubato moments will characterise a confident and technically secure presentation.
A good performance will be graceful and elegant. The melody will be brought out clearly in either hand, with well shaped phrasing. Tempo will be flowing and ritenuto bars nicely judged. The technical challenges of coordination will not cause concern and any momentary insecurities will be quickly forgotten in an essentially enjoyable performance.
A sound performance will keep a steady and danceable tempo but here will be a rather earth-bound quality to the playing. Tempo fluctuations may be cursory or ignored. Dynamics will be mostly observed but there may be some slip-ups or bumpy playing. The changes of section and the transfer of the melody from one hand to the other may give rise to awkward moments.