Whew, well I had a whirlwind of a time my last few weeks of summer and a lot of things came up, BUT am happy to say that I finished my Summer Sightreading Challenge and sightread over 100 pieces! Yes, I may have begun the summer sightreading much harder and longer pieces than I ended with, but I did complete the challenge :) I really enjoyed it, particularly because I got to discover some amazing pieces I had never taken the opportunity to play before. My sightreading skills increased (which I think is true for anyone at any level who decides to sightread consistently) and it gave me, a busy stay-at-home mom, a great excuse to play more consistently.
I wanted to share some of the great books I decided to sighread through this summer - kind of a random assortment, but that's how I roll!
I started out with some Debussy - very challenging sightreading but I loved it. I discovered that I LOVE the whole Suite Bergamasque (which includes the famous Clair de Lune - I think it's wonderful to hear such a beloved and often-heard piece in the context of the whole work!). Hear Richter play it here and here.
I read through most of the Debussy book (see below) and then decided I needed a change...so I went onto some Handel! There's nothing like a little Baroque to give you some much-needed simplicity and straightforwardness after playing Debussy for a month. I love these composer series editions by the Frederic Harris Music Company (seen below, and also the whole collection can be found here - I love the clean, solid colors of the covers - it makes me want to buy them all and line them up on a shelf!! Someday...)
I also tried out some Scarlatti sonatas - I really haven't played much Scarlatti and would LOVE to delve more into his sonatas someday. They were a nice read.
For some variety I decided to turn to some Scriabin Preludes - so gorgeous and haunting! These were excellent to read because despite their intricacies they were quite short. I discovered that, just like Chopin, Bach, Shostakovich and others, he wrote 24 Preludes, one in each key. Take a listen to his Prelude in C Major, Op. 11 No. 1, and tell me if it doesn't remind you a bit of Chopin's first prelude in C Major...
Grieg's Lyric Pieces were SO FUN! I love the great variety of his pieces and the scenes and stories they depict. I definitely enjoyed some more than others. One of my favorite sets that I read through was his 6 Lyric Pieces, Op. 43 - I particularly liked No. 1 - Butterfly and No. 4 - Little Bird (and of course No. 6 is a classic!).
I ended with some of the Applause book - which, if you are not familiar with and have teenage students, I would highly recommend that you go out and get a copy now! These pieces are SO much fun to play - I think they are a great way to get your teenage students excited about classical music. Pieces included come from all of the musical periods and are all impressive and showy solos. I especially loved playing Beethoven's Six Ecossaises!
Well I hope that a few of you were also able to hone your sightreading skills this summer, and I hope you also discovered some great pieces! How did your sightreading go? Did you find any pieces that you just LOVE and would like to share? Happy sightreading!