A Piano Lover Challenge

How to begin?

When I was a kid, in a very chaotic and dysfunctional home, one of the few good things there was, that I remember, was my Dad playing his piano.

It would be many years before I understood how accomplished he was, in reality. He played a lot and I enjoyed the music. It seemed to come to him easily and, still a child, I didn’t understand that he studied and practiced to achieve this. Alcoholism would swiftly rob him of his gift.

My Dad’s gone now, but I would like to make a gift of something from him, to his grandchildren, now grown, who hardly remember him from when they were small children. They view him, rightly, through the difficult issues they see his off spring struggle with, mostly mental health and addiction legacy stuff. I’m trying to piece together something positive for them from their Grandparents, both now gone.

I am attempting to put together a CD of the music he played on his piano. Big problem, I was a child and never looked at the music to see the titles or such. But I find I still hear classical music when I’m out and think, “Hey, my Dad could play that on the piano!”, but, of course, still don’t learn the title or author.

So, how about it? Wanna play?

He was trained at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto, Canada, during the late forties and early fifties. He played a lot of classical stuff, which I’m confident I could identify by hearing it, if it was being played solely on a piano, sans orchestra.

What I’m hoping is that piano lovers out there will be able to pretty much guess the music he was playing by the time period he was trained during.

He was quite accomplished and could also play boogie woogie and ragtime piano. I would be an adult before I understood how challenging that was. I remember him playing and my brother and I holding up the panel of the upright piano so we could see the hammers striking wildly. It also increased the volume, which we loved. But I’m not sure I could recognize any of those peieces, to be honest.

I’m hoping for links to where I can listen to the piece and see if I recognize it.

Let me thank you in advance for any help you can lend in getting me moving in the right direction on this project!

My piano training took place in the 1990s, but things probably haven’t changed so much in the classical piano world. Just guessing, but you can probably start with greatest hits piano collections from Chopin (esp. nocturnes, polonaises, preludes), Bach, Mozart, Beethoven (esp. sonatas), Rachmaninov (esp. preludes), and Liszt. Also, it’s quite likely he would play some piano concertos (even though those come with orchestra parts, too). Beethoven’s (he composed 5) would be one of the likeliest hits there, I think.

Chances are you’ll find quite a lot that he played this way, though of course you won’t get at the more esoteric stuff he liked. I’ll leave those for the experts that’ll inevitably come and help you out. Good luck! :slight_smile:

Mozart - Rondo Alla Turca
Beethoven - Fur Elise
Brahms - Waltz No. 15, Opus 39

Scott Joplin - Maple Leaf Rag

Tangential question:

What search terms should I be using to insure I get a version that’s played alone on a piano, without any accompaniment?

And thanks for playing, K364 & Windwalker!