Annotation – Prof Wessel v Wyk & Dr Tessa Rhoodie
The submission constitutes a live recording of a two piano recital by the pianists Dr Tessa Rhoodie and Prof Wessel van Wyk performed at the Brooklyn Theatre on Friday the 30th of September 2016. This recital formed part of the Gaufestival (www.gaufestival.com) that was newly founded in 2016.
The programme that was performed included a variety of stylistic and technical challenges: Mozart’s sonata in D K 448 from the Classical genre is a substantial work of the two piano genre which has been recorded and performed by leading pianists worldwide. A lesser known but most effective work that represents the modern style period is the accessible Jazzy 4 Piece Suite by the English composer Richard Rodney Bennett (originally written for 2 pianos). This work requires a comprehension of the different representative characteristics of the jazz idiom, inclusive of the Blues, Ragtime and Rock. The performers are both rhythmically challenged and accurate ensemble playing is crucial. The third work is a fairly recent two piano arrangement of the orchestral version of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite by Nicolas Economou. This work contains of multitude of virtuoso pianistic technical challenges which require a developed and advanced technical proficiency.
The double sound of two pianos can result in dynamic levels that can overbearing if not planned and structured carefully. The aspect of ensemble playing is of utmost importance when two pianos play together - the two players have to match their respective sound colours and balance their sonic result in creating the holistic picture of a single piano. The appropriate blending of sonorities is therefore the main challenge.
Numerous practical rehearsal sessions over a six-month period culminated in a performance of the three above mentioned works that reflected the pianists’ respective tone productions and interpretations. Numerous practical rehearsal sessions were required to match our respective tone productions and interpretations of the three works.
Piano playing on a professional level requires an amalgamation of cognitive and physical factors, finely developed stylistic and rhythmic qualities and finely attuned artistic taste. To achieve the required stylistic characteristics of the repertoire, called for thorough academic research into the musical structure and style of each composition and a clear understanding of the technical requirements within the different varieties of stylistic interpretation.
Performers of Classical music need to have five basic conditions met, namely: time, focus, autonomy, purpose and communication. For academic staff to excel as performers of Classical music, they need sufficient quality time to practice daily with institutional recognition and support. To create these conditions within the academic environment of teaching, learning and research is a challenge and requires the utmost dedication and discipline. The time invested into preparation for a performance of this calibre is immense. The preliminary research that precedes the extensive physical practicing process required by a performance of this calibre is already comparable to the amount of research needed for an academic article.
Dr Tessa Rhoodie and Prof Wessel van Wyk performed at the Brooklyn Theatre on Friday the 30th of September 2016. The list of performed song are found here: http://hdl.handle.net/2263/72267