Welcome to Day 2 of my Virtual Artistic Residence!

Following my first article about teaching music through drawing, today I would like to illustrate a piece by Russian romantic composer Alexander Gretchaninov. The piece is called “In the Fields” from Glass beads op. 123 and is included in the ABRSM syllabus 2019-20, Grade 4 list.

The start of the piece is simple and bright.

I imagine the opening as first rays of sunlight in the morning. Or if we move to a theatre and imagine we are watching a play: the first two bars could represent the stage curtains opening. It’s interesting how many images may suit your purpose, but you never know which one will stimulate a response in your pupil.

Moving on to the main theme, I first drew the melody in the right hand as a line. You can see my starting note (dot) is D and I followed all the jumps in right hand based on how high or low the sounds are. The line is smooth and flowing as the notes under the slurs should be smoothly connected (played legato).

Main theme:

There is a repetition of the motifs which made me think about round shapes, so my next step was to make a rough circle using the features of the first line.

Now I can imagine a flower in a field!

Here is one more image that came to my mind – see below: 

The start of the theme is marked with quasi oboe con alcuna liberta (like an oboe with some freedom) and I made a drawing of a little girl playing a pipe. 

The middle part brings us a new tranquil melody in a major key and then repeats it in a minor key.

You (or it could be the girl with a pipe) are lying on the grass under a big tree in the fields looking at the sky above. The first time, when the melody is in the major key, the sun is shining and the second time, when the melody is repeated in the minor key, the sky is suddenly covered in clouds.

In the third part, when we return to the initial tempo (Tempo 1), the first theme appears again in both hands (maybe the girl has met a friend and they are playing together), and the theme from the middle section ends the piece.

Find out more about Elena Toponogova and see her works from previous days of our Virtual Artistic Residence.