Vivaldi - L'autumno
This piece is taken from the popular set of concertos by Vivaldi for violin, strings and continuo entitled The Four Seasons and published in 1725.
It is the Finale of the movement called Autumn and appears here as a keyboard arrangement by Pamela Wedgewood.
Pupil Match & Suitability
The attractive melody and rhythmic figures should make this popular with young players of Grade 1 standard.
It lies well under the fingers and does not pose many technical difficulties.
Style & Tempo
Listen to the Baroque style and note how light and detached the notes are.
The suggested crotchet= 120 is a very suitable tempo for this piece ensuring the character and style of the music can be achieved.
Some young pianists may wish to take a quicker tempo but the dotted quaver semiquaver rhythm must be clean and precise.
Phrasing & Articulation
There is no phrasing indicated on the copy but the addition of some slurred notes is suggested such as the LH quavers and possibly the 3rd beat RH thirds (e.g. bar 14 etc)
Tone & Texture
Equal tone between the hands would be acceptable. A more stylish performance could however result from balancing the hands so that the tune is more prominent.
The dynamic contrasts are very important and care should be taken that these are observed for tonal contrast and colour in performance.
The RH dotted rhythm figures need care.
They should be precisely played and the wrist should be kept flexible and avoid tightness and tension. The LH repeated thirds and fifths need to be evenly controlled.
Using some rotary action rather than playing from the fingers alone gives much easier tone control.
Some helpful indications are on the copy and fingering falls quite naturally.
RH dotted quaver semiquaver figures obviously 1-5-1-1. There is really no need to swap fingers on the repeated F (3rd beat).
Bar 4 RH dotted minim 2/1.
The RH thirds in bars 15,17,19 and 21 beats 1 and 2 fingered 5/3 3/1
Be certain to advise students how to go about practising in the lesson itself.
Demonstrate what slow practice actually means.
Demonstrate how to avoid holding fingers stiffly in LH thirds.
It may help to write down how to practise in short sections, hands separately, then together. The teacher can play along with the pupil, playing the other hand part.
It is important that there is slow practice in the early stages of preparation.
Separate hand practice and working in short sections of the piece will be invaluable in getting to know the score.
Rhythmic figures can be taken out of context and prepared carefully.
When there is fluency of continuity try experimenting with different speeds always ensuring clarity of the dotted rhythms.
Tension may be a potential problem. Aim for a relaxed approach. Fingers should be firm to play the rhythmic figures and the right and left hand thirds and fifths but avoid stiffness and tension.
This piece could sound rather pedantic if the performance does not have the necessary rhythmic lift and precision A slight leaning or stress (not an accent) on the first beat of each bar will help to give a rhythmic lilt and shape. As mentioned earlier (under phrasing) the addition of some slurs will also help to give the performance shape.
An excellent performance will dance along at a good tempo and be rhythmically buoyant. The sense of phrasing and line will be eloquent.
A good performance will be rhythmic and have contrasts. It will not feature heavy crotchet beats but will show a feel for the mood and charater, perhaps despite some less than tidy co-ordination at times.
A sound performance will be fluent and accurate. Tone may well be heavy and there is likely to be scope for much greater management of tonal qualities. Nonetheless it will demonstrate a certain level of achievement as far as co-ordination is concerned, even the tempo might be a little cautious.