As I revisit "Übungstück Number 9" by Friedrich Gulda for my upcoming performances, I find that I still absolutely love this piece especially as one of my encore pieces. Even though I am not a jazz pianist, I get to sound like one - great fun! "Übungstück Number 9" ends pretty much any program on an upbeat note, and audiences seem to love the lightness and the jazzy character of the piece.
Friedrich Gulda (1930-2000) started his career as a classical concert pianist and became famous for his interpretations of repertoire by Mozart, Schubert and Beethoven. I love his witty and charming playing especially for Mozart's piano sonatas.
A sought-after pedagogue, the list of Gulda's students includes titans of the piano like Martha Argerich.
In his 20's Gulda started developing an interest in jazz music. He played with legendary jazz musicians including Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul and Chick Corea.
Gulda wrote "Übungstück Number 9" (etude no. 9) as part of “The Long Road to Freedom” intended as an introduction to jazz piano music dedicated to his wife Yuko Wakiyama. Many of the pieces are technically quite demanding, but great fun to play. The entire collection is inspired by Gulda’s charming and highly intellectual style for which he became so famous.
Enjoy this arrangement by James Wilding from my live performance with German percussionist Thomas Hastreiter on marimba.