Saturday, July 24, 2010

Coming Home Again

Various uninteresting events kept me from traveling home to Ottawa in 2009. But I made sure to hard-schedule a visit in 2010. As in 2008, I made sure to take advantage of Paulette's invitation to play her young Steinway B. My small audience was mom, dad, Johanne, Paulette, mom's friend Louise and my first piano teacher, Edith Orton. It was a very casual gathering and I made sure to play the pieces I'm working up for this year's ConcArt recital. I also played a couple of "oldies", a couple of "requests" and one piece on Paulette's Baldwin L1. Here's the list:

Friday, July 16, 2010:
  • Quejas, ó La Maja y el Ruiseñor (Enrique Granados)
  • Danza de la Pastora (Ernesto Halffter)
  • Air and Variations: The Harmonious Blacksmith (George Handel)
  • Widmung (Robert Schumann/Franz Liszt arr.)
  • Muiñeira (Joaquin Nin-Culmell)
  • Hungarian Dance #2 (Johannes Brahms)
  • Ritual Fire Dance (Manuel de Falla)
  • Danza del Gaucho Matrero (Alberto Ginastera)
  • Impromptu Op.90 No.4 (Franz Schubert)
  • Sonetto 104 del Petrarca (Franz Liszt)
I think everybody had a good time. I had two very nice comments and one good piece of constructive criticism. Paulette asked when I bought my piano because it sounded like my playing had matured and become much more expressive since 2008. She attributed it to having my own piano to play every day. Edith asked if I practiced technique (scales, etc.) regularly. I explained that with my limited practice time, I practice technique in service of the pieces I'm learning/playing only. But I do practice the runs, arpeggios, trills, etc. from the pieces as though they were technical exercises in order to get them as clean as possible. Her impression was that my technique and articulation were strong.

The constructive criticism came from my mother's friend Louise. She suggested (and everyone agreed) that it would be nice to have more tranquility in my repertoire, since most of the pieces I played were quick or fiery or energetic (or all three!). I do have slower, calmer material, but didn't play much of it. The comment reminded me that even in a casual gathering, you shouldn't ignore program-level considerations. It also convinced me that I really need to add one more piece to this year's planned ConcArt program. Now I just have to find a new piece that's a slow/tranquil foil for the rest of the program, something that's melodic and beautiful, something that's not too trivial, and that I can learn and get up to performance level for the Fall.

Having fun at Paulette's Steinway B

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