Benda G. - Allegro assai
Born into a family of musicians in Bohemia, Georg Benda (1722 - 1795) enjoyed a very active and varied musical career as a violinist, composer and Kapellmeister.
C.P.E.Bach was a contemporary of his and it is almost certain that the prolific Bach would have had considerably influence on Benda.
This 3rd movement from his Sonata in G major exhibits typical openness of textures and simplicity of musical motifs as befits a work of the early Classical period.
Pupil Match & Suitability
The capacity to get around the keys in a nimble fashion is important.
This movement may well appeal to a variety of age ranges. Certainly the talented young child who wishes to show of their dexterity will be interested, as well as perhaps a number of adult pupils.
Care should be taken when suggesting that an adult learn this piece, since it can become tricky in performance, and has the kind of intricacies which can easily trip up performers in situations of performance pressure.
Style & Tempo
Lightness and brightness best describe the mood here.
It may well have been played on the harpsichord as much as it was on the early piano. One thing remains common to both: that the tone was light and silvery in its quality, completely unlike contemporary piano tone.
Phrasing & Articulation
More needs to be done, by way of subleties, on a modern instrument to bring out the detail and mood.
The degree to which you deceide to chase after this refinement should be carefully though through.
Many students will not fare well if you try to overburden them with detail before they can play evenly, consistently and confidently.
Tone & Texture
Whilst dynamic markings were included in earlier editions it was customary for performance trends to vary and also to be passed on by word of mouth without reliance upon a written out set of performance directions.
A performance without any contrasts would sound dull. Feel free to disagree with the performance directions of a particular edition if you feel that it makes sense and nevertheless work perfectly well in performance.
A nimble confidently functioning finger technique is important.
Students who play enevenly will benefit from working out their fingers, especially if done correctly.
A Dozen a Day (Edna Mae Burnham), Bertini studies, Czerny Op 101, scale playing and even the odd Hanon exercise could all be of value.
The important thing is to use the fingers correctly and not in a tense way which relies either on pushing from the key surface or forcing the action.
Choice of fingering should emerge in order to achieve the most comfortable and consistent flow of notes and even tone.
Fingering also needs to be tried out in little bits but up to tempo. This is needed in order to check that the chosen finerging will work up to tempo.
Note the appoggiaturas (bars 13 - 15) etc, to be played as continous lines of semiquavers.
Notes and fingering are important, but aim also to teach them within a musical context.
It is boring beyond measure to simply play notes and to think rhythm and fingering for a long period.
Slow demonstration helps to achieve this aim.
This is a popular piece, but the initial honeymoon period will wear off at some point. So be prepared with clear sets of practice aims.
Set smaller tasks, but make them musically enjoyable.
Always get your students to think about how they will practise in the week ahead and have a strategy for knowing, the following week, how to evaluate what they have and have not achieved.
Stumbling may be a problem.
The cause of this is usually in bad practice habits.
Insist on fluency and clarity of fingering, rhythm and touch at a very slow but continuous tempo.
The student should be made aware of the causes and understand how to put them right.
Stumbling demonstrates a lack of knowlwedge about and application of good practice technique, not a lack of musical talent or willingness to engage.
Benda Allegro Assai Grade 4 Level
You will notice in this performance that the dynamics do not necessarily follow all of those in the printed copy.
The quick tempo for this performance works, due to the relatively slow rate of harmonic change.
This does not mean that it should be played at this tempo or that is wrong to play it at a rather slower pace, but rather that the teacher and performer have to decide which tempo is best for them and then to phrase and shape the musical line accordingly.
An excellent performance will have buoyancy of spirit and finese in its phrasing with detailed control of touch. The dynamics will be nicely contrasted and the performance will display a lightness of mood and touch.
A good performance will also have a clear sense of purpose and contrasting dynamics. There will be an emerging sense of style and the tempo will be confident.
A sound performance will demonstrate good fingerwork for the most part although the playing may be rather heavy handed in its tone and would probably benefit from a much keener awareness of the style.