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What is an “encore”?

What is an “encore”? featured image

December 13, 2019

Climbing the charts on “Classical Chartz” is pianist Nelson Friere’s recording, “Encores”.

What is an “encore”, you ask? Literally, it’s the French for “again”. When ardent fans applauded, they’d shout “encore!” to hear the piece again, because they loved it so much. I’m not sure about Europe, but here in Canada I’ve rarely heard audience members actually call out, “encore”! Usually the curtain calls go on for long enough that the request is implied.

Once in a while, you may hear a large ensemble perform an encore after the end of a concert, where they’ll repeat a brief piece from the program to acknowledge the support of the crowd. A soloist has the option of playing whatever he or she wants, as there are no other players to consult and rehearse with.

Pianists have the most options, as there are so many pieces written for solo piano that requires no one else (unlike a solo violinist, for example, which often still requires a pianist). A recording of encores is fun to listen to – tapas style, in which you hear little musical bites of a variety of styles. Often an encore is very flashy and technically astounding, but not always. If the soloist finished with something loud and brilliant, he or she may opt for something subdued.

Nelson Friere’s “Encores” came in at #10 last weekend. Will it chart higher this week? Time will tell – tune in tomorrow!

Hosted by Michael Duncan, “Classical Chartz” airs Saturdays at 3 pm on The New Classical FM.

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