Schutt - Wiegenliedchen
Although Eduard Schutt (1856 – 1933) is a little known composer, he wrote over a hundred works including many piano pieces and he was also a gifted pianist and organist. Schutt was born in Russia but later studied music in Germany.
Pupil Match & Suitability
This piece is suitable for pianists of any age who can play expressively.
A delicate, yet singing tone is required. Medium sized hands are needed, as there are some spread chords, with a few octave reaches also.
Style & Tempo
The style is that of a lullaby accompanied by smoothly played, LH broken chords. An expressive use of phrasing will be enhanced by rubato and the tempo changes suggested by the composer should be noted.
Phrasing & Articulation
Despite the slurring together of every two bars, the most musical approach is to think in a longer line of four-bar phrases that suggest question and answer.
Tone & Texture
A singing tone is needed for the melodic line and it is important that the tune is separated out from the accompanying notes at an early stage in the learning process.
The melody is in the RH at first, with the LH accompanying quietly.
The melody then moves into the middle line of the textures, with the notes shared between the RH and the LH for the middle section of the piece, starting at Bar 21. The RH semiquavers must be pianissimo if the gentle tune is to be heard clearly.
The techniques most relevant to this piece are:
1/ achieving a smooth legato
2/ playing arpeggiated chords with even control.
Fingering needs to be carefully chosen to enable the legato melodies to be smooth, whilst keeping the accompanying figures fluent.
The student's attention should be brought to the passages where the RH and LH share the melody, as this is not immediately obvious and may never have been encountered previously.
Care should be taken that the chosen fingering also works up to speed.
In Bars 44 and 48, whether or not the grace notes are played strictly on the beat or just before the beat is not of any great importance as long as fluency and poise are maintained in the melodic line.
Legato pedalling is essential for this piece and, as a general rule, the pedal should be changed with the shifting harmonies.
One pedal per bar often works well as long as the melody is brought out strongly and the pace is not too slow.
Try teaching the piece by initially separating out the three strands of melody, chords and bass line.
Working on four bars at a time, first combine the melody with the bass line, next the melody with the chords, then the bass line with the chords.
Finally play the four bars as written.
Practice time should replicate what has been covered in the lesson, so be sure to give the student a clear idea of what is required.
Practice should take a different form depending on what stage the student has reached in the learning of a piece. At first there will be lots of separate hands practice and learning of individual phrases with hands together.
Later the student will need to practise linking the phrases together fluently and remembering to play with expressive detail.
Finally the student should practise performing the whole piece, then ‘repairing the damage’ of any mistakes by some slow practice.
The main problem arising with this piece is uncertainty as to which notes are melody and which are accompaniment. Singing the tune aloud helps to reinforce memory of the melody line, even if sung at a lower octave when too high for the voice.
In Bar 4, although the chords are marked with dashes, this means tenuto, a direction to give the notes their full value rather than to accent them.
An excellent performance
The interpretation will show a keen feel for the lullaby character in supple phrasing, with good tone control enabling a singing melodic line. Tempo changes will be effective, fluency will be assured and there will be a poised sense of performance.
The listener will feel lulled into a peaceful, relaxed mood by this sensitive interpretation, which demonstrates effortless technical control and confident accuracy.
A good performance:
There will be a developing sense of character in use of musical detail and any small smudges in accuracy will not disturb the flow.
The pace will be suitable and, although the tone may not yet be completely poised, there will be a feel for the phrasing and for the gently lilting melody. Use of pedal will generally be competent, but there may be a few smudges where harmonies are unclear.
A secure performance:
There will be overall continuity, with prompt recovery from any small mistakes. Rhythms will be secure although the pace may yet be cautious.
The character of the music will be shown in a suitably restrained tone, with a little dynamic variety emerging.