Category Archives: Piano performance videos

ABRSM Piano exam pieces performed by Jill Morton

‘Hmm, what’s it supposed to sound like?’ If you’ve ever asked that question about an exam piece, you may have searched for a video of it on YouTube. You may also have discovered some videos that are not very good!

Fortunately, there are some videos that are performed and recorded to a very high standard, for example those by Jill Morton. Her recordings are a valuable reference for exam preparation, and they are enjoyable to listen to as well. All of the pieces are beautifully performed and very clearly recorded. So here’s a selection of Jill Morton’s videos of ABRSM exam pieces. You can find more, plus videos of Trinity College exam pieces, on Jill’s YouTube channel.

The Duchess of Cambridge’s Christmas piano performance

Well, this came as a surprise to many people – the Duchess of Cambridge plays the piano! It will surely be an inspiration to many piano students.

Here is an extract from the description on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s official YouTube channel:

Watch The Duchess of Cambridge and Tom Walker perform ‘For Those Who Can’t Be Here’ at Westminster Abbey for Royal Carols: Together At Christmas. The performance took place in The Chapter House inside Westminster Abbey in December 2021. The song was played as part of the Royal Carols: Together At Christmas, a carol service that reflected upon the difficult past 18 months for people across our nation, and particularly for those who might be more vulnerable, isolated or have limited access to support.’

Superb at-home recital from Mariam Batsashvili

In these difficult times, musicians are having to find unusual ways to perform. Here’s a recent recital given by concert pianist Mariam Batsashvili, from her home. The recital includes pieces by Chopin, Liszt and Paderewski, with spoken introductions to each piece. Watch and enjoy!

And here’s another stay-at-home concert from Mariam Batsashvili. More Chopin and Liszt, and a sonata by Haydn.

Wait, there’s more! This third recital features a selection of works by Liszt.

Clavichord performances (Byrd, Bach, Mozart, Grieg)

William Byrd (c1540 – 1623) was one of the leading composers of the English Renaissance. The Carman’s Whistle is his setting of a popular tune from the time of Elizabeth I. Note that the performer in this video is reading the music in a very 21st-century way – from an iPad!

Here’s an arrangement of a Prelude (originally for solo violin) by J.S. Bach. It’s played on a replica of a clavichord from 1670.

Larger clavichords can be used to perform many piano pieces from the early Classical era (Mozart and Haydn, for example). Here’s Mozart’s Rondo Alla Turca (Rondo in Turkish style):

Hearing late 19th-century piano music played on a clavichord is unusual, to say the least. However, here’s a clavichord performance of Grieg’s Wedding Day At Troldhaugen, from book 8 of Lyric Pieces (1896). The performer has had to adapt the music slightly, due to the clavichord’s short keyboard range and lack of sustaining pedal. Even so, it’s surprisingly effective.

For comparison, here’s Wedding Day At Troldhaugen again, but this time played on the piano. In this recording (audio only), Leif Ove Andsnes plays a Steinway piano which was owned by Grieg (see

Harpsichord performances (Bach and Scarlatti)

Here’s a well-known minuet in G from the Anna Magdalena Bach Notebook. Old printed editions of this piece attribute it to either ‘J.S. Bach’ or ‘Anon.’, but it is now believed to be by Johann Christian Petzold. It’s played here on a single-manual harpsichord.

Next, a performance of a sonata by Scarlatti. A 2-manual harpsichord is used to great effect here. Notice how the upper manual can be ‘coupled’ to the lower one. The upper keys can be seen going down as the lower ones are played. And in this video, you can see the notation as well!

Although the harpsichord has limited dynamics, it can still sound very expressive if played beautifully. Here’s a lovely performance of a Bach prelude, played on a 2-manual harpsichord, but using only the lower manual.

If you enjoy the sound of the harpsichord, you may feel that one is not enough. OK, how about 4 harpsichords! Here’s J.S. Bach’s concerto in A minor for 4 harpsichords and strings. It’s actually an arrangement by Bach of a concerto for 4 violins by Vivaldi (op.3 no.10).

Chopin and Debussy (Peter Jablonski in performance)

A couple of performance videos featuring pianist Peter Jablonski. The music is by two of the greatest composers for the piano: Chopin and Debussy.

For the best sound quality, view these videos in HD if you can.

Chopin: Mazurka, Op. 17 No. 4

The mazurka is a traditional dance in triple time (3 beats in a bar) from Poland. This type of dance was very important to Chopin as a way of expressing his Polish heritage. He wrote more than 50 of them, and they cover a wide variety of moods. Chopin’s mazurkas include some of his most thoughtful and inventive music. This mazurka is a very fine example.

Debussy: Reflets dans l’eau (Reflections in the Water)

The French composer Debussy was a master of ‘sound pictures’ for the piano or orchestra. His style reminds some listeners of the Impressionist school of painters (Monet, for example). For that reason, Debussy is often called an ‘Impressionist’ composer. However, Debussy did not like having the term ‘Impressionist’ applied to his music.