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Nocturne Harp Sheet Music by Mikhail M. Ippolitov-Ivanov/Samuel O. Pratt
This Nocturne is reminiscent of Scriabin in its fantasy and dream-like quality. The tempo is marked Adagietto, but it should not be taken too slowly, nor should the rhythm be distorted beyond the bounds of good taste in pseudo-rubato-romanticism. The simple melodic lines and rich harmonization will create a lush effect almost automatically.
The performer need then only maintain equilibrium and restraint. The figuration in the first two measures forms the introduction and accompaniment for the melody of the entire piece. This must be played entirely with the left hand in order to maintain proper phrasing in the right hand melody. The figuration is in itself a melody and must be treated as such always.
The fingering is indicated in the first measure, and if followed, the three note groups repeated at the octave become quite simple to play and memorize. The inner voice and secondary melody in the right hand (measure ten to the piu mosso) must be phrased into prominence rather than just simple played loudly. Move ahead freely at the piu mosso and let the 32nd note arpeggios serve as rhythmic second and third beats leading to the melodic material in the third measure. This whole section, building up to the glissandos, must build through rhythm and steadiness as well as through volume. Let each small crescendo top the one preceding until the climax is reached with the glissandos. Begin the diminuendo immediately after reaching the top of the first glissando, and let the rest evaporate into the chords on the top of page 6.
The recapitulation of the melody should be a remembrance of the first; not an echo, but a recalling of some pleasant experience. The octaves pp beginning on line 2 of page 6 must be exquisitely precise, like little bells. The last line on Page 6 begins with a sigh, a little more lingering rubato and more tenderly than the first time, and from there maintain the warmth, but do not drag the ending. Almost move ahead on the last line of the piece, delaying only slightly, perhaps, the half note chord in the next to the last measure.
This piece would be well programmed in a church service, or wherever a rather short, tender piece would fit in. In a full length evening solo concert, it would be well to program it with two other pieces, making a group. They could all be romantic in style of period, as long as they offer some contrast to each other.
It would be poor taste to program three equally slow and melodic since the effect might possibly become a little cloying and tiresome. This is an excellent piece and a valuable addition to the harp literature. Play it well and use it well.