I have been distracted by many things and have not been at the piano a lot to the point that my technique is suffering. A catalyst has been Sol, who loves music and is an avid fan of my playing and will drop whatever she’s doing to come sit behind me on the daybed and listen when I practice. No matter what it is or how awful I sound (to my ears), she loves it. So I have pulled out a lot of music and am reviewing it. Some of it I don’t remember ever playing, but it is marked up with fingerings and such, so I know I had to have studied it. As I go over the incredibly involved pieces I once tossed off glibly, I am appalled that I let them slip away as badly as they have. The Liszt harp etude, for instance. I had it once. Getting it back will take months.
Today I dusted off the Beethoven Pathetique Sonata and because I have been sight reading up the kazoo lately, I played the whole thing without major errors. How the hell I managed that I don’t know. Yes, it needs work and polishing, but it’s there for the taking. When I was 17, I studied the Pathetique with my first piano teacher. She was Greek and was the organist at the Greek Orthodox church. She was in her late 20s and beautiful. At the last recital I participated in, I was scheduled to play the first movement. Because I was her most advanced student and this was such a major piece, I was to have the place of honor – last on the program. When I got to the recital hall, I was informed I would play second to last. I had been replaced by a student who had COMPOSED HIS OWN PIECE. Moreover, he, too, was Greek and, MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL, HE WAS A GUY. He played his piece. It was awful. I am guessing no one knew the difference. I have never gotten over this slight. I also relive the moment and castigate myself over not telling her off and leaving. Oh, well.