Friday, July 30, 2010

shameless self-promotion, balanced by shame-filled self-criticism

A little more summer reflection, this time, in the form of self-evaluation of some of my performances from last spring. After a few months, I feel prepared to listen to them with open ears and resist the urge to instinctively cringe. Instead I cringe now as a real response to what I'm hearing! Just kidding...mostly...

Anyway, I start with what was I think my biggest over-achievement of the whole year: the Chopin Scherzo that closed the program of my recital.

Pros: It's fiery, fast, and uncharacteristically accurate. Through my whole life of playing piano, I've forgone most of the "big" repertoire in favor of Bach and Mozart, partly because I love Bach and Mozart, but also because I lack the time, the will or the technique to get the big stuff together. Most piano music written after 1830 terrifies me. But this performance turned out well, with exceptions. It's the second fastest tempo I've yet heard from anyone (Richter's live recording being the exception), and it matches the character of the piece perfectly. Most people treat it too lightly. But the outer sections aren't light, or nice, or delicate, at all. They're violent, angry and brutal. I really like the parts the move ahead and rush in the opening as well, giving it a general feeling of unsteadiness.

Cons: Well, it wasn't all clean, for instance the 9th chord at 1:02, or, more unfortunately, the e# in the 3rd to last chord (gah!!). Some habits of timing really annoy me in the repeated sections and sound generally uncreative. 0:14-0:15 sounds just like 1:19-1:20 sounds just like 2:25-2:26. Though I like the character of the outer sections, it's a bit pedantic and lacks variety.

Compare the recital performance to the other one posted [okay, so i wrote this as the track was uploading from my itunes, unsuccessfully....hopefully I'll actually get it together soon], which I'm now ashamed to say was made for and played on the radio in Chicago. It lacks the same security, comfort, and character of the recital performance. It's slower and heavier. It's less sharp and biting. And on top of that it has all the problems of the recital performance. Trust me, it more or less sucked.

Next up: something else from the recital if I can stomach it....which ps is posted here.


  1. Wait, I don't think I realized this was on the radio. I only heard the nocturnes (which were beautiful!)

  2. haha you're right i remember now i missed the radio thing but they definitely didn't play the scherzo cause the nocturne recordings were actually decent!

  3. You probably had more juice in the concert than for the radio. So, you learn to feel the juice.