Gavotte, by Gossec, is still one of my pieces – I play it all the time, almost daily, and I’m making incremental progress. The song is somewhat stark in the way it reveals the limitations of my playing at this stage of the game – I get to choose between speed and precision; I cannot play it at “full” speed and get it all right. But at this point it’s one of my older songs. Ironically, I play many of my newer songs better than I can play that Gavotte. Teacher said Book Two would not bring much that’s more technically difficult until a good way into the book.
And “a good way into the book” is where I landed in yesterday’s lesson (a Thursday re-schedule), coincidentally on a piece that’s also called Gavotte, this one by A. Thomas, from his work Mignon. I was a bit surprised that Teacher wanted to go on – The Witch’s Dance is still feeling pretty new, though I’ve been on it for three weeks or so. But I do have it memorized, and I have been listening to this new Gavotte for a while now, reading along sometimes as well to prepare, so on we went.
Since I’d been listening, I knew this Gavotte was going to be a tough one – and indeed it is. For the first time, we didn’t even start at the beginning of the song – Teacher pulled two lines out of the middle that are particularly complicated to train with before starting at the top. In addition to being technically complicated (for me) the piece is long – almost two full pages. No repeats, so it’s not necessarily the longest work, when performed, that I have – that’s likely still that first Gavotte.
Just for good measure, when I’ve finally got this new Gavotte down guess what the next Book Two song is called? Gavotte. That will make three Gavottes, which I suppose will come in handy if ever I have to play a dance-off. Dr. Suzuki must have been a Gavotte kind of guy. I guess I’m slowly on my way to becoming one too.
Thanks for reading.
[…] I mentioned starting Ambroise Thomas’ Gavotte from Mignon a couple of weeks ago- I started in the middle of the piece with two lines that Teacher thinks are tricky. And they are indeed tricky – I worked with them for a week and realized the critical element in those two lines is being in tune with B and B flat on the A string – the notes alternate in the music frequently, and when it’s not in tune it sounds terrible. Nailing that B has been a challenge for me since day one on the violin, more or less. Getting the B perfect is crucial to making the Brahms Waltz come out well too; I’ve been around this “B” block before, in other words. […]
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