Thursday, April 23, 2009

two pianists

She invited me to Snell Hall to hear a run-through of her master's recital, one hour long. I was pleasantly surprised to discover upon arrival that I was to be the lone audience member. Now I could sprawl my coat, bag, arms, and legs anywhere I chose, out there in the plush seats in the darkened hall.

Half-way back, I sprawled lazily; close enough to the warmth of the stage lights and distant enough to feel enveloped by the sound of the piano. The program was perfect: Bach, Beethoven, Schumann, and Ravel.

This particular music has befriended me over the years. One might say that we are "well-acquainted". Intimate, even.

The first piece, Bach's French Suite #5, and I go way back. I love it so very much. When friends with a taste for Bach as me to play, I always ask "major or minor?". If they say minor, I always play the French Suite #2. If major, always #5. I have played it at weddings, funerals, church services, house concerts, and in large halls. Also, one thousand times in my living room, late at night after children have gone to bed. (I always use the soft pedal then, of course.)

Hearing it played this morning was a lovely treat.

The next piece was Beethoven's sonata, Les Adeiux. I learned this when I was seventeen years old for my college auditions. I didn't know how hard it was then. Ah, youth! I know how difficult it is now, and am amazed that large sections of it are always "under my fingers". I can sit down and play it at the drop of a hat. Gone are the days when I could learn like that!
This sonata is in one large movement, but three sections. "The Departure", "The Absence", and "The Return". It is rare for Beethoven to tell a story with his music -to "program" it, so to speak. But here, he does just that. My dear young friend successfully told the tale with deep feeling. I enjoyed it immensely!

After an intermission came three of Schumann's Fantasiestucke, or fantasy pieces. I played these in college my freshman year, and remember well the voicing, pedaling, and phrasing. Such beautiful gems these pieces are! Each one is perfectly-composed. They were performed elegantly for me today.

The final selection was an excerpt from Ravel's Miroirs. I only know this music from listening to it, as I have never played it. But this afternoon, while packing stacks of musical scores for our upcoming move, I set aside my copy of Ravel's works for perusal. I don't know WHAT I am thinking -like I have two minutes for such luxuries- but one never knows. I was very inspired by this morning's performance with its Spanish rhythms and flamenco-like flourishes.

This dress rehearsal was not supposed to be about me, but about supporting the fine work of a young and talented pianist friend. But the music held such emotional weight for me personally, that it was truly applicable to both the performing pianist and the totally involved lone audience member.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for coming, Nancy...
It meant so much to me...

12:07 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home