The LMusA Diploma Journey – Update #1

I decided at the start of this month to begin a brand new journey on the guitar – one that isn’t necessarily going to be easy or short, but one that I will learn a lot from (and have an awesome bunch of repertoire to brandish), and that’s the journey towards taking my LMusA diploma.

If you missed it, or want to recap, here’s my first post about the start of the journey: The Start of A New Journey – The LMusA Diploma.

So, in the spirit of sharing (as I’m all about on this blog), I’d give you folks an update every couple of weeks as to how I’m progressing. And so here is the first official update for you!cropped-2010_09_25_guitars_003-scaled1000.jpg

What have I been up to this past fortnight?

Well, this past fortnight has really been about getting to grips with the first couple of pages (or the first major section really) of Granados’ La Maja de Goya. As I’ve said before this is an all-time favourite piece of mine so it has been quite exciting (in a total guitar geek kind of way) to be playing this piece – kind of like meeting your guitar hero, but in a non-tangible (and non-human, obviously), musical form.

I’m currently learning from and studying the Llobet transcription (the music was originally written as a song for piano and voice) which has some interesting editorial markings. At the end of this last couple of weeks I’m finding the first two pages (which I’ve been focussing on thus far) is covered in pencil marks! Whilst an editor or transcriber may be very skilled, talented and so on, I’m of the belief that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with me adding my own thoughts, fingerings and approaches into the mix – and I’m going to town so far on this one! I’m going all out with scratching out Pizz. markings, putting things up the octave, all with a desired musical outcome in mind. The desired outcome may change, and so may my pencil stratchings, as I really get to grips with the music, but for now I’m very happy to experiment and trust my own judgment.

Well, that and that of Julian Bream’s too. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t strongly influenced by the English maestro in (a) playing the piece in the first place, and (b) his gorgeous approach to playing it. That said, there is one small elements that I’ve chosen to alter from Bream’s rendition, which is more in line with the line with the print score. This is an element that I felt on closer inspection and listening would allow greater clarity in the musical line and consistency with previous material. I’m sure there will be many more elements like this as I study the music more closely, listen to and develop my own thoughts on approach.

I’ve also started to think about what else from the syllabus repertoire list I’d like to play. A big, fat, multi-movement work is definitely on the cards and would really be expected (if it’s not already a specified requirement in the syllabus – I should check that just out of interest….). At the moment, I’m weighing up the prospect of Leo Brouwer’s El Decameron Negro (a three movement suite of around 15-17 minute I think) and Federico Mompou’s luscious Suite Compostelana (a six movement suite, written for Segovia in 1962, clocking in at around the 20 – 22 minute mark). I’m leaning towards the Mompou at the moment as it’s really quite beautiful. Very melodic, with an impressionistic kind of quality to it.

What’s on for the next fortnight?

Well, we’ve got the Easter public holidays coming up and ANZAC Day public holiday on 24th April, so lots of available practice time! Yay! If I can, I like to try and fit in a couple of focused one hour sessions on these days. And when I say focused I mean focused. Going into the practice session knowing exactly what it is I want to work on and doing just that. No phone. No computer. A “Do not disturb” sign hung on the door (not really, but people know that I’ve gone into my music room to work). No other distractions.

In my practice I’ll be consolidating my work on the opening section of La Maja de Goya and venturing further into the piece, gettings notes under the fingers, making any fundamental editorial changes and exploring fingerings.

I’ll also be checking out further some of the other listed repertoire pieces, listening to various recordings of pieces, whittling down my favourites and pieces that will make a good combination in the recital and checking out some more scores.

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