VARIATIONS AND INVOCATION UPON A 'Kyrie Eleison' AND AN 'Anathema': Notes From A Performer's Perspective.
Katerina and I “met” on Twitter! Both she and her work sounded interesting, so I visited her web site to read her bio and listen to some of her compositions. Once there, I discovered that she is also a pianist, a painter, a poet, and a fashion designer!
I feel a connection with her through the University of Iowa, where she earned two of her degrees. I grew up 75 miles from Iowa City, attended music camp there 4 times beginning in 7th grade, and studied piano and organ there in high school.
After looking at this piece several times, then putting it away, these concerts came along. I’m so happy to be programming Katerina’s beautiful piece!
Here the challenge is learning the composer’s style with no previous knowledge. Beyond that, some of the tempi are fast. The fastest marking is quarter note = 168.
When learning chordal passages in traditional music, I “block” the hand positions and practice getting to each spot early. With triads and inversions, that becomes standard procedure.
Now I’m practicing chord clusters the same way! Noticing the similarities between clusters helps. In one passage, the 2 middle notes stay the same. The 1st chord is higher on the keyboard than the 2nd. Using the same fingering for the middle of each is working. If I keep my hand in that shape, then head for the middle of the 2nd chord (with the center of my hand), finding the 2nd chord quickly is no problem. (I lead with the thumb or 5th finger most of the time.)
In this piece, the Kyrie has variations. In addition, the Anathema has its own variations. As you can imagine, the possibilities for alternating sections are many.
The Anathema is fast, and faster with each of its new sections. These alternate with, or are interspersed with, the Kyrie theme.
The performer has to be alert and ready to go. No matter whether the practicing is at tempo or slower, I practice the transitions every time. If you arrive at the beginning of a section late, insecurity immediately gets in the way. I’m practicing for success. Switching from slow to fast, and also not waiting after “making it” to the end of a fast section, are crucial to the flow of the music.