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Teal's Modest Adventures

Life & Events > My Musical Past and Such

My Musical Past and Such

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 I had been replaced by a student who had COMPOSED HIS OWN PIECE.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.

xx, Teal

posted on Oct 22, 2020 10:15 AM ()


The pieces I like best are beyond me now. The Waldstein (Beethoven) I am not young enough to get it. It would take years and my hands are compromised and I go to bed with a turmeric compress every night to revive my thumbs. I studied the Brahms-Handel variations and got it to 60-70 percent and got distracted and did other things, so bringing it back would be major. Anyway these are not pieces that the average listener accesses easily. For entertainment at parties, if I am asked, I play Chopin -- the Harp Etude, the Revolutionary Etude, the Fantasie Impromptu, the Black Key Etude. I keep these up to date always -- they are good for my hands. Right now, I have realized I'm in a rut, so I am reviewing the Beethoven sonatas -the Pathetique, the Appassionata. the Tempest. the Moonlight (all movements) -- these I can succeed with but it will take a year of daily attention. And of course, there is the Liszt Harp etude -- I had it to 75% when I stopped working on it. Life just took over. Add another year for the Liszt.
comment by tealstar on Nov 2, 2020 11:55 AM ()
I, too, would love to hear you play, especially a piece that you dearly love. Do you have a piece that you adore to play and/or to listen to?
comment by marta on Nov 1, 2020 2:19 AM ()
read my apply above your comment. I goofed.
reply by tealstar on Nov 2, 2020 12:02 PM ()
yes, we'd love to hear a recording, or see a video!!!
comment by jerms on Oct 24, 2020 8:16 PM ()
If you do not make a recording of your playing and keep it, post it here or on Youtube, I will be sad.
comment by drmaus on Oct 22, 2020 11:20 AM ()
I will work on it.
reply by tealstar on Oct 22, 2020 11:29 AM ()

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