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Messiaen - Les Enfants de Dieu

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Hello peeps, long time no see!

 

I'm currently looking at this piece for the DipABRSM, and was wondering, do you generally split all the chords between two hands?

 

There are instances where I'm taking certain bars with one hand only, but obviously don't want to use what might be considered poor technique.

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If it sounds alright, it is alright! The examiners are going to mark you on how it sounds, not how you get those sounds. However, you stand a much better chance of getting the right notes if you are comfortable and don't have to do odd stretches, so there's a lot to be said for dividing up big chords where possible.

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If it sounds alright, it is alright! The examiners are going to mark you on how it sounds, not how you get those sounds. However, you stand a much better chance of getting the right notes if you are comfortable and don't have to do odd stretches, so there's a lot to be said for dividing up big chords where possible.

 

Very sensible advice, David.

 

I recall playing Messiaen's Transports de Joie for an examination some years ago (with one of the examiners turning pages, since I had forgotten to ask anyone). At one point, in order to make a particular passage easier, I cancelled all the G.O. stops - and Choir to Great, but leaving Swell to Great in play - and split the passage (marked to be played with both hands on the Récit) between the two claviers. The examiner(s) did not bat an eyelid.

 

As David states, the important thing is that you find a fingering (and hand-sharing) which is practicable and which is comfortable for you. As long as whatever you decide upon allows you to play the passage(s) accurately and fluently, I doubt that anyone will mind how you organise your hands.

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I learnt this piece in my teens and later did it for my FRCO. I have hardly touched it in the last quarter-century, but have just had a bash through on the toaster and was really rather pleased to find that I can still play almost all of it accurately, though the accelerando to the climax has gone to pot. Learning the notes is the difficult bit. Once you've done that it's really not very difficult to play, though it does need a good, pianistic wrist action and the aforementioned accelerando is a bit testing.

 

I happen to think that, in the first section, Messiaen has divided the notes between the hands in the score in an eminently practical manner, but that may be just me and, as, the others say above, so long as the result is musically top notch the examiners won't care. In the slow section I do allow my left hand to help out with the lowest note of some of the right-hand chords in order to achieve the seamless legato required (I have fairly big hands).

 

I recall playing Messiaen's Transports de Joie for an examination some years ago (with one of the examiners turning pages, since I had forgotten to ask anyone). At one point, in order to make a particular passage easier, I cancelled all the G.O. stops - and Choir to Great, but leaving Swell to Great in play - and split the passage (marked to be played with both hands on the Récit) between the two claviers. The examiner(s) did not bat an eyelid.

 

I think you have to. I have always found this passage next to impossible to play perfectly on one manual. I can't help feeling that if I had a really good piano technique it wouldn't be a problem, but it requires dovetailing the thumbs in such a way that they keep tripping each other up. Can anyone here actually manage this passage on one manual without clipping the speech of the pipes and, if so, what's the secret?

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Yes, in NL we nearly always have to play it on one manual. The secret? well, if any, having very flexible hands/wrists/arms does help.

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Thank you, heva. It is, then, as I suspected. One day I will get around to conquering the one-manual approach - once people stop throwing me Viennese masses and other kindred orchestral reductions to learn.

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Yes, in NL we nearly always have to play it on one manual. The secret? well, if any, having very flexible hands/wrists/arms does help.

 

I had to play it on one clavier here, too - at Wardour Castle Chapel.(http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=N15066).

 

That was the last time I accepted requests for specific works, without checking on what the instrument was like first....

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