25 Easy and Progressive Etudes (Op. 100)

12. L'Adieu (Farewell) in A Minor

L’adieu (The Farewell) tells the story of a departure, perhaps of a close friend or family member, and the resulting feelings of sadness and anxiety. The only respite from the turbulent emotions is to be found in the B section (from bar 17) - in C major, but even then this brief moment of warmth and respite is tinged with regret (the Ab in bar 24). The form of the piece is ternary (ABA) with an introduction and coda.

The main technical problem posed by this étude is how to play the triplet quaver patterns at speed - with dynamics and shape, but without tension. While the use of rotary movements of the forearm will be more obvious in the LH Alberti basses (bar 13, 17 - 24, etc.) success in the RH triplets depends on finding ways to keep mobile by calling on rotations and micro adjustments in the wrist to assist the fingers as they execute what will feel more like a leggiero touch than a legato. There are two ways of practising the triplet quavers; at a slow tempo with a finger staccato, and faster in different rhythms (in groups of 3 then groups of 6 notes). Return to these methods regularly in your day-to-day practice.

In the Wiener Urtext edition, the marking on the second beat of bar 5, etc. is described in the preface as a “long accent mark” and looks more like a small diminuendo hairpin than the horizontal wedge-shaped accent that appears in most other editions. Rather than simply adding a percussive accent to the first note of the triplet in question, the expressive idea is to play with more emphasis. This opens the door to a slight lingering on the first note of the triplet group, in the way a singer might do when highlighting an expressive moment.

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