Student Repertoire: Tristesse by Robert Fuchs

Tristesse Op.47 No.5 - Another Sad Song

Robert Fuchs 1847 - 1927, Late Romantic Composer

When Students are learning new music it's easy to become completely distracted by fundamentals. Things like note reading, fingering, musical terms and tempo can take up all lesson time and certainly all practice time. Although these elements of piano study are necessary, it often leaves little time for musicianship and interpretation. For this reason it's often better to visit certain pieces after you have far surpassed them technically, Robert Fuch's Piano solo Op.47. No.5 might be one of these pieces. 

"Tristesse" is powerfully expressive. There is plenty of room to explore subtleties and nuance. Fuchs was a late Romantic composer which in many ways gives the performer more liberties with phrasing and rubato. How many different ways can you play that hauntingly beautiful four note melody in bar 11: (Fa, Mi, Re, Sol) and how can we vary it on the repeat so that it is even more sweetly longing?

Fuchs was a teacher of music theory and composition and his imagination and skill is clear even in a piece as simple as the "Tristesse". How often do we find a Neapolitan - V7 - I chord progression in a beginners piano solo? It's quite magnificent.   


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starr meneely