Thursday, July 2, 2009

Personal Disasters in My Musical Experience...

I was reminiscing this morning about some of my experiences in music, both as a performer and as a teacher, and recall the following little morsels:
In one of the countless recitals I would arrange for my students each spring, I recall one in particular -
One of my young ladies, upon beginning her music, was obviously so frightened that she commenced to perform the wrong piece, which totally confused the audience as they gazed at their programs and tried to fathom as to what was going on. I can assure you that it was sheer torture for me as I listened to a piece of music by Beethoven, when it should have sounded like Clementi.
What astounded me was that this young lady went right through the piece as if it were the one anointed for public performance, and she divulged to me after the recital that she realized what she had done within the first few seconds; however, she did not lose her composure, which was truly amazing to me. I should have been angry at her; however, it made me laugh along with her, which relieved her immensely, as I'm sure she felt that I would have done her in with invective.
At another of my student recitals, one of my pupils was accompanying a violinist, and when the page-turner turned the page, she turned two pages instead of one, and as the sheets were not bound, one of the sheets left the stage and fluttered out onto the first row of listeners - you are correct, if you surmise that the performance had come to an ignominious end.
As a performer, I remember (vividly!) my playing the Villa-Lobos "Polichinelle", from his "Baby's Family." Although it is not written in, the great Artur Rubinstein would add a glissando (the use of a fingernail gliding up or down the keyboard) at the end of the piece, following immediately with the striking of the very top note on the keyboard, resulting in a very splashy ending. I decided to employ the Rubinstein glissando whenever I played this piece as an encore. In this particular performance, unfortunately, I employed the glissando, but ended up whacking the wood panel just to the right of that high "C"; the result, an unprecedented way to end this piece of music.
I could go on, but I feel that my face has reddened enough.

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