Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Tuesday, August 15, Part II

I was able to squeeze in 30 minutes of practice-time tonight, but I'm afraid I didn't make very efficient use of my time. Normally I'm Little Miss Efficiency when it comes to practicing, since I normally have so little time as it is.

I planned to work on the Liszt tonight. So, naturally, I walked into the Inner Sanctum, plopped the Bach fugue onto the piano, and began practicing.

There's something wrong with this picture, isn't there.

Folks, I am a fugue-aholic. The fugue is like a big, juicy zit, and I can't stop picking at it. OK, maybe that's not the best simile for it. Zits are gross, infected, pus-filled things. The fugue is transcendent. Divine. A work of genius.

Yep, the fugue went and got transcendent on me again tonight. I worked on the two "end pieces" of the section I've been working on HT for the last hundred years few weeks. Measures 14 and 15 were still good, but the measures at the end needed work. So I worked. Got the kinks out (again), then played it through, mm 14-26. It sounded good, but I did the panic-and-pause thing a couple of times in the last couple of measures.

Slow down, Waterfall. The fugue ain't goin' anywhere.

So I slowed down. Way down. Turned on the metronome so that each click was a sixteenth note. (40 being a quarter note was too fast for the pace I wanted.)

Ahh. There is something about playing a passage perfectly, even if it is at 30% tempo.

I turned off the metronome and played through the passage again, just as slowly. Ahh. That's when it got transcendent. Starting with measure 16 (Episode 2), the soprano sings the most delightful little melody, jumping up a sixth and holding the note while the alto and bass do their thing underneath. That little held high note ... ahh. Sweet. The next high held note is a little lower, and the next a little lower. It's this wonderful descending line that stands out from everything else. The notes are like little bells dinging. It's divine.

After practicing that, do you think I was capable of moving on to the Liszt?

Of course I was. But not very. I played through it once, thinking, "If I just put some time into this, I could have it. I would be ready to pronounce it 'good enough' and get to the 'maintenance' stage of the piece and start learning something new."

Yes, I'm that close. Yet my motivation to move forward is surprisingly low. Why? Do I love this piece so much that I don't want to get to the "maintenance" stage? I don't know. All I know is that, if I practice the Bach first, I will never get around to practicing the Liszt.

Tomorrow. Liszt. If there's time afterward, then Bach. But tomorrow's practice will be devoted to poor, neglected Franzi.

1 comment:

robert said...

Smart move, Waterfall! I used to start pieces with JSB. He sinked up time from the rest of the gang. So now I rotate the order -- and it makes psychological sensense and physiological sense too -- keep varying the order, keeps the muscles and mind off guard, and I get the best out of them. Just like running.