Kabalevsky Piano Play-Along: What Are Your Favorites from the Op. 39?

Unknown-824-pieces-for-children-op-39-dmitri-kabalevsky-paperback-cover-artSo what are your favorite pieces from Kabalevsky’s Op. 39 24 Pieces for Children.   List them here and you’ll earn an entry to the August 1 prize drawing! Explain why you like a particular piece (or two), and earn a second entry!  What about a new fave?  Ready, set, go!

TITLES:   1. Melody  2. Polka  3. Rambling  4. Cradle Song  5. Playing  6.  A Little Joke  7.  Funny Event  8.  Song  9.  Song  10. A Little Dance  11.  Song of Autumn 12.  Scherzo  13.  Waltz   14.  A Fable  15.  Jumping  16.  A Sad Story  17.  Folk Dance  18. Galop  19. Prelude  20. Clowns  21. Improvisation  22. A Short Story  23. Slow Waltz  24.  A Happy Outing

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5 Responses to Kabalevsky Piano Play-Along: What Are Your Favorites from the Op. 39?

  1. Elizabeth Gutierrez says:

    OK. I’ll start.
    Old favorites: No. 2 Polka, No. 6 A Little Joke, No. 8 Song, No. 12 Scherzo, No. 13 Waltz, No. 20 Clowns, No. 23 Slow Waltz
    I include the highly popular Little Joke and Clowns only because students can’t get enough of them. Highly motivating.
    NEW favorites: No. 5 Playing, No. 10 March, No. 14 Fable, No. 17 Folk Dance, No. 19 Prelude, No. 21 Improvisation, No. 24 A Happy Outing
    Hmm… can you tell that I really like these pieces? I include the March, Fable, Folk Dance, and Happy Outing among my new faves because I’ve taught them recently and students continue to play them as warm-ups when they come to lessons. Love their enthusiasm for them!

  2. Jeanne says:

    OK. I have way too many favorites. These pieces are mostly new to me and I actually like them all. I will list my favorites and make my comments short. Thank you so much for starting and facilitating this play along! It has greatly enriched my summer.
    #3 Marching: This one got in my head that first week and stayed there on repeat. I don’t even know why I like this one so much. There is just something satisfying about playing it.
    #8 Song: Beautiful sad melody.
    #10 Quick March: I love the dotted rhythm and the parallel harmony in the last half.
    #12 Scherzo: This is the only one I was familiar with. I love the frantic, busy feel and the single note ending that puts the piece to rest.
    # 13 Waltz: Another beautiful melody. I like the opportunity for phrasing and dynamics on this one.
    #15 Galloping: I like the rhythm in this one. I absolutely love the way the hands swap rhythm patterns in m. 9 and then back again in m. 17. It’s lots of fun to play.
    #17 Folk Dance: I think I like the harmony best in this one. And the race to the end.
    #18 Gallop: I like the leaps in the right hand in this one. In my edition it used the same fingering for the slurred patterns in the left hand each time which seems to suggest the galloping motion to me.
    #20 The Clown: Who doesn’t like this one? It is whimsical and funny and a joy to play and listen to.
    #22 Novelette: I hear two voices competing in this one. The primary character is the left hand melody that is kind of sad telling its tale and then the right hand represents the rest of the rest of the characters that are chattering and playing and having fun which the main character is lamenting. I like the contrast of the two.
    #23 Waltz: I believe what I like about this one is the chord progressions. Just a little different and very enjoyable
    #24 A Happy Journey: This one sounds like a happy journey with a little bit of “real life” showing up in the B section. I am so glad it ends happy.

  3. Nicola says:

    These were new to me and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know them. My favourite if I had to pick one is #15 Galloping, just love the catchy rhythm on this one and it’s already been a great exercise for one of my intermediate students 🙂

  4. Kathy says:

    The Kabalevsky Piano Play-a-long has been a real source of inspiration for my piano playing and teaching. No. 20 -Clowns has always been my personal favorite – I can never play it just once! It has such personality! But now I’m really loving No. 1 – 4. They are filled with jewels of articulation, dynamics and form that are achievable by elementary piano students. I am playing them with new eyes! I especially love No. 2, Polka, which is a great lesson in playing the left hand musically. I also love the fact that each has it’s own tempo marking which matches the title. Then there is No. 21 – Improvisation. What a world of contrasts in this piece. A really beautiful piece of music. A great discussion can evolve from here on the title and how it was achieved. I have the perfect student to start this piece on in September. This blog has just opened the book on all that Kabalevsky has to offer for elementary, intermediate and seasoned pianists. Thanks Elizabeth!

  5. Julie says:

    I really like #15 with the alternating, parallel patterns. It’s fun to play- feels like the hands are playing tag! The 2-note slur articulation has become a favorite of mine, as well, and this one displays it plenty! I look forward to teaching some of my older students this piece come fall!

    #6, another fun piece to play. This quickly became more of my favorite when my 4 year old son asked what this one was called, and when I told him, he asked if it was a “tippy-toe joke.” The sound of the short lively staccato and plucky sound of it must have brought silly tip-toeing to his little mind! It sounds like people laughing and having fun, too!

    Overall, what a great selection of repertoire to review for the summer! So glad for the opportunity!

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