The Concertino, O Cuco e o Burro was composed by Mahle in 1979 and dedicated to his daughter Leonora Mahle. She played the premier when she was 8 years old with the children’s orchestra of the Escola de Musica de Piracicaba while Ernst Mahle conducted.

The piece “was extracted from one of Mahle’s German Folk songs piano books” and assembles a dialogue between the cuckoo bird and the donkey. According to the composer “the concertino is intended for a piano student ages 7 to 8 years old.”

Orchestration: strings, soprano recorder, flute, oboe clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet and percussion.

Pedagogical Features

            This concertino provides a great opportunity for the late beginner student (2nd to 3rd year piano student), the equivalent to level 3 of Magrath’s Leveling of Literature, to play with orchestra. The piece challenges the students’ ability to balance the sound of the piano with the orchestra, in turn creating a dialogue between the two. The work helps develop the listening skills of the pianist, since the part with the orchestra is so interconnected. It also explores a range of three octaves for the piano solo. There are constant contrasts in articulations and dynamics.

 

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          The Concertino do Limoeiro was dedicated to Mahle’s daughter Cecilia Elisabeth Mahle. It is based on a Greek folk song, Limoeiro de Patras (Lime Tree from Patras). According to the composer, the concertino “is suitable for a 3rd or 4th year piano student (usually 9-10 years old)”; or a student who has musical and technical skills equivalent to those required for level 6, equivalent to Little Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach, Bartok’s For Children, or Clementi’s Sonatina Op. 36, no.1.

Orchestration: strings, soprano recorder, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, and percussion.

Pedagogical Features

              The Concertino do Limoeiro offers a young pianist the opportunity to perform with orchestra. It helps develop the piano students ability to listen and create dialogue with youth symphonic orchestra. It also challenges students with polyphonic textures (3 to 4 voices) and all of the challenges on voicing and balance with the orchestra. Students are exposed to a variety of contrasting dynamic markings (p, mf, f, ff) and due to this pedagogical edition, are also exposed to a variety of contrasting articulation markings. In addition, there are long trills and a D-Mixolydian scalar run on the cadenza, that can be quite challenge for a student from this level.

Mahle wrote a different LH pattern on the each variation of the main theme. This offers a challenge for the young pianist performing, due to the technically difficulties in each differing pattern and the fact that these different LH patterns also make it more challenging to memorize.

 

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            The Concertino 1974 was written for the III Young Instrumentalists Competition of Brazil, for 11-13 years old pianists (1975). It was dedicated to Maria Elisa Zagatto, who performed the premiere under maestro Ernst Mahle, in Piracicaba. The Concertino 1974 is the most frequently performed of Mahle’s concertinos. It was performed in “several musical centers around Brazil, including: São Paulo, Teresopolis, Rio de Janeiro, and Manaus.” This piece is appropriate for an early advanced student, equivalent to level 8 with musical and technical skills equivalent to those required for Bach’s Two Part Invention or Mozart’s Sonata in C, KV 545.

Orchestration: string orchestra

Pedagogical Features

This concertino is great for offering piano students some intriguing modal flavors (Lydian-Mixolydian/Mixolydian with 6m) as well as vigorous rhythms (16ths), and characteristically Brazilian syncopations.

 

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The Variações sobre Melodia Nordestina was composed by Mahle in 1956. This was dedicated to Ida Meirelles when she was 12 years old and had the opportunity to be a soloist with the Youth Symphony Orchestra of the Escola de Música de Piracicaba. It is based on a theme from northeast Brazil, Cancao de Cegos (Blind’s song) “from a collection of Brazilian melodies that Mahle owned.” The piece consists of five variations, a cadenza, and a coda. According to Mahle, the Variações sobre Melodia Nordestina are intended for a “young pianist ranging from 13 to 15 years old” or equivalent to level 10 of Magrath’s Leveling of Literature.

Orchestration: symphonic orchestra

Pedagogical Features

            The Variações sobre Melodia Nordestina has technical challenges on each variation. In general, this piece develops the skill of quick shifting passages with contrasting tempos, articulations, dynamics, tessituras, characters, textures, harmonies, and coordination. It is relevant for the student to be aware of all these contrasts between theme and variations not only to assist with their analytical memorization skills, but also for a better comprehension of the work.

 

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