Slow, Contrasting Piece for College Audition

Edited: January 20, 2018, 8:08 PM · Hi, I was wondering if you have any suggestions on possible slow pieces to play for a college audition. The requirements are two contrasting pieces from different periods. I can’t have a romantic era piece because I will also be playing the first movement of Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnol.

My teacher has mentioned Beethoven’s Romance in F but I want to listen to other possible pieces before settling. I have a couple months before my audition and I’ve learned the first mvt of Lalo already so I would just have to continue polishing it.

I have considered Bach but I was hoping I could play a piece with an accompaniment.


Replies (6)

January 20, 2018, 8:08 PM · One issue with the Beethoven Romance in F (Op. 50) is that it is actually quite a long piece and not very hard (i.e., impressive) technically. The Op. 50 romance is considered by some as preparatory material for Mozart 3. Have you ruled out Bach? I'd be much more impressed with a well-played D-minor or B-minor Sarabande than I would a well-played Beethoven Romance.

However I don't have any experience with college auditions so maybe folks who have can weigh in. By the way it would be helpful to know what sort of institutions you're applying to.

January 20, 2018, 8:26 PM · I agree with Paul. You could also try looking at more recent music – Takemitsu's Distance de Fée and Messiaen's Theme and Variations are two options on that front.
January 20, 2018, 8:58 PM · I wouldn't play a piece requiring accompaniment. That is something you cannot control. I played college teaching job audition and was accompanied by the piano prof. He was a pounder in the olde style. Just sat there during my Mozart and obliviously banged away. Maybe he had just seen Spinal Tap and was inspired to "turn it up to 11."

I've also been burned in several graduate school recitals by thoroughly unprepared accompanists, both professional and graduate accompaniment majors who refused to simply learn the notes. Down to the wire.

If you can play Lalo well, you should just learn a movement of Bach, such as the slow movement from the a-minor. Then you can accompany yourself. And besides, if you can't play a movement of Bach you probably shouldn't be applying to a music school.

January 20, 2018, 10:41 PM · I agree with Scott about playing Bach, and about the unpredictability of supplied accompanists.

It would be helpful to have some idea of where you're applying. You don't have to be specific, but "top conservatory," "flagship state university (other than Indiana)," "regional state university," "liberal arts college," or some such, with a note about the strength of the music programs where you're applying. I assume with Lalo, you're not auditioning for the top conservatories but there is a lot of variation below that level.

January 20, 2018, 11:29 PM · Yeah, no. It’s just for a flagship state university. No, I’m not a child prodigy who has been playing since I got out of the womb. I have not ruled out Bach. I’m just wondering what other pieces are out there that aren’t Bach. Nothing against Bach, I have a couple Bachs in mind already if I do decide on Bach. I just want to extend my list before settling on my program. As far as accompaniment, please don’t be too worried about it when suggesting.
January 20, 2018, 11:33 PM · Since there are so many ways to play Bach, I feel like it provides more of an insight into your playing. A lot of schools require 2 contrasting Bach movements, plus, it is also nice to be able to whip out an unaccompanied piece.

I am actually applying to colleges with the first movement of Lalo, as well as Nigun by Bloch and the Sarabanda and Giga from Bach Partita No. 2.

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