Chopin Études

Chopin Études Op 10 : I have uploaded a first volume (1 – 4) just in time for the long annual holidays. A project commenced a few months ago, the complete set of 27 will be long… no doubt another year at least. This publication will concentrate more than is usual on the musical and creative inspiration. As far as I know this is the first to appear since Badura-Skoda’s Wiener Urtext almost 50 years ago.

PPE has completely redesigned the layout spreading out the text for easier reading. Each étude has a short introduction and includes for what it is worth my personal fingering and ‘arrangements’. There is also an appendix following in the footsteps of Cortot, with a few preparatory exercises and ideas to help solve technical and musical problems posed throughout these amazing studies.

With seasonal greetings from France.

Ray

Ravel Ma Mère l’Oye

Many thanks for all the useful feedback; I have recently revisited my 2019 revision of Ravel’s Mother Goose, making significant corrections and improving the layout. This fascinating exploration resulted inevitably to a new two-hand arrangement, which I believe will make an exceptional addition to the composer’s solo repertoire. There is extensive use of the sostenuto pedal and glissandos can be found in a wide range of dynamics. Le Jardin Féerique is an excellent study for the magical timing of arpeggiated chords. My favourite is no doubt Les Entretiens de la Belle et de la Bête, an eloquent waltz with unusual phrase lengths, indicated with dashed barlines; it also features a ravishing and pertinent coupling of the two themes. 

Ravel often preferred the company of the young to that of adults and said : “Writing music to describe the poetry of childhood encouraged me to simplify my style and to refine my means of expression”. The contrast between Ma Mère l’Oye and Gaspard de la Nuit, from the same year 1908, is staggering, yet the fundamentals — melodic design, exquisite harmony and the evocation of enchantment — is evident in the two works.

Ravel — Daphnis et Chloé

l’Aventure de Pan et de Syrinx


I must thank a kind Ravelian sleuth for having discovered a small number of errors; a serious revision of the composer’s transcription published today includes the corrections.

I must admit that the piece sounds more complete with Ravel’s extraordinary orchestral palette, but it is nevertheless pianistically challenging and gratifying, with echoes of Valses NoblesOndine and Jeux d’Eau. In under 7 minutes of gorgeous music, there is some bitonality and 24 changes of key, and who cannot be seduced by Pan’s exquisite flute solo? 

Schumann Three Preludes in Counterpoint

a transcription for solo piano by Ray Alston

Nº 2 mit innigem ausdruck A minor page 1

Nº 5 nicht zu schnell B minor page 7

Nº 4 Innig A flat page 13

These are taken from Six Studies in Canonic Form Op 56, whose unfortunate academic title hides music of great beauty and originality. In an effort to publicise their worth they have been sexily renamed Preludes in Counterpoint. I have transcribed three personal favourites for solo piano — the two outer pieces, both lyrical and romantic, frame a mischievous staccato canon in the style of Mendelssohn.  

Schumann Humoreske Op 20

As you probably know, there is an early short section where a third stave shows an innerer stimme, an inner voice not to be played, just heard in the mind. However Richter, competing in Formula 1, does play the secret melody, and this version is included — it works rather well, methinks.

Debussy Preludes book 2 Nº 7

A reliable source has provided additional editing information; a new revised version of this divine prelude has been uploaded today.

Moments of exaltation evoke a distant land, shrouded in legend, saturated with exotic overtones — a subtly elusive and ethereal scene requiring great sensitivity. 

Schumann Phantasie in C — Op 17

You can now download the result of months of enjoyable revision of this extraordinary work. I have included two preparatory studies for the second movement, including the notorious coda, and Schumann’s original discarded coda to the third movement.
Does anyone have an opinion with reference to the following conundrum in the second movement?


Measures 1 to 5 —  given that the LH arpeggiated chord of 6 is clearly to start before the beat, logically these five bars should start on the beat. I have found no reference to the problem anywhere.

Please use the contact link to send your observations.