25 Easy and Progressive Etudes (Op. 100)

18. Inquiétude (Restlessness) in E Minor

In Inquiétude (Restlessness) we find just one basic pattern – left hand staccato chords on each beat of the bar and scurrying semiquaver groups in the right hand, off the beat. It makes sense to begin learning the notes with the left hand, the conductor. The wedged staccato dashes tell us to play short and emphatically, with energy in the tips of the fingers. The right hand groups need to be played close to the keys, yet with a sense of shaping and mobility in the hand and wrist. The wider intervals, such as we find in bars 5-6, and 13-14, etc., call for spinning wrist circles to keep loose and free. After some careful initial slow practice (focussing on precision of touch and dynamics), the tempo can be increased gradually, aiming for a performance speed between 110 and 138 per crotchet.

In the key of E minor, the prevailing mood is agitated and dark – with a touch of brightness and a stronger dynamic (mf) as the music moves to the relative major (G) in bar 9. The texture thickens in the coda (from bar 24), where we find the basses in full crotchets and the strongest dynamic (f). The throwaway ending, far from being humorous, only underscores the anxious nature of the music.

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