In the hurly-burly of a Piano competition there are selections that can make or break the chances of a competitor; pieces so difficult or dense that only a master musician can make them work for the audience and more importantly, the judges.
On the Piano this Sunday, we continue with music from the 2012 San Antonio International Piano Competition where two of the pianists "go big" in an effort to convince the judges that they have what it takes to be worthy of the gold medal.
Over the years of listening to the San Antonio International Piano Competition, I've noticed that nerves play an important part. Just enough, and a performance can be charged with excitement, too much, and disaster awaits.
With the competitors narrowed from 11 to eight, the stakes are higher, and that could help the judges separate the best as the competition continues.
Visitors to the Alamo were greeted by some mid-day busking (street performing) yesterday morning. Dotan Negrin has been hauling his upright piano all across the country for more than two years, performing on streets from New York to here in San Antonio.
Parked illegally next to the Alamo, Negrin unloaded his Baldwin piano from a fire-engine red van.
The compact upright piano has a laminated map velcroed to one side showing all the places Negrin has gone on his travels.
I've seen contestants in piano competitions play some large and impressive works when trying to stand out from their other competitors. Big and difficult works like Liszt's "b minor sonata" or Ravel's "Gaspard de la Nuit" are sure to get the judges attention, but there is also the fear of losing the audience.
It is not easy programming your first set at a competition. This week on The Piano, we visit more recordings from last October's San Antonio International Piano Competition.There are only two big and challenging works on the program.
In classical circles, a piano quintet is almost always one piano and four instrumentalists (string or wind). The Five Browns are literally a piano quintet -- five Juilliard pianists -- and all family -- two brothers and three sisters! Since being dubbed the "Fab Five" by People Magazine, they have been featured on Oprah, 60 Minutes, Good Morning America, Today, and The Tonight Show.