Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Happy Memories From This Piano Sonata

This post was first published in January of 2014.

My daughter Ebony in Montreal
I proudly say that my daughter Ebony, now a grown married woman [Update-2018: with an adorable 2 year old daughter Skye Noelle] was an exceptional talent as a classical music pianist when growing up.  I remember my daughter at age 12 or 13 competing in the sonata competition [for those in Houston and surrounding areas].   I know the competition was held in Houston and what made this so much more memorable was that my Mom was there with me, holding my hand and holding her breath with me for the whole time the piece was played.  Ebony won first place for her age category, and this is one competition that she not only won a trophy but some money.  :-)

That's a big piano, Ebony  :-)
If I remember right the only stipulations of the competition was that the piano sonata [movement] had to be under 5 minutes and it had to be played by memory.  The judges were strict with the rules as I actually remember them stopping one contestant who had not finished by the 5 minute mark and wouldn't let them finish.  My daughter's premiere piano teacher, Russian-American Mrs. Kurinets picked out the first movement of Haydn's piano sonata #23 in F-major for her to play.  You can imagine the pride in my face as Ebony played it the best I had ever heard her, perfectly.  And what a relief when it was over as my mother and me let out our breaths with happy smiles.

Franz Joseph Haydn
As you may know, Franz Joseph Haydn was known as Papa Haydn as he was the father of the classical symphony.  Haydn's importance in classical music was even much more than that as he was one of the developers of the string quartet and and of the sonata form [exposition-development-recapitulation] that would be used in many classical and romantic pieces of music.  He also was a leader in the development of the classical piano sonatas with his plethora of wonderful sonatas.

His piano sonata in F-major will always have a special place in my heart, with remembrances of my daughter's exceptional first place performance.

Please turn up the volume and enjoy this piece by Papa Haydn.  At least you won't have to hold your breath like my Mom and  I did for 4 minutes straight.  :-)

F.J. Haydn: Piano Sonata in F-Major, Movement 1, Allegro-Moderato:


bradley said...

What a beautiful testimonial to an intelligent, hard working, talented young woman that you and Sheralyn raised. The pride our daughters generate, in us dads, is not measurable.

RuthBrons said...

Beautiful post!

Big Mike said...

Thanks Brad and double that for you with your two beautiful daughters!!!

Big Mike said...

Thanks Ruth!!!

Pamela said...

Most young pianists have encountered that initial fear of speed while developing their technical skills. But I have found (in my first attempt at a Haydn sonata) that speed is almost essential not only to the quality of the sonata but also to its mastery. Now, it's just the first few notes (beginning the piece) that still make me anxious.

Big Mike said...

Thanks Pamela! I remember back when my daughter was young I could always tell if she was going to play a piece well at a recital, etc. by the speed of the first few notes- if she got that right I knew she was going to play the whole piece well. :-))