It's been a long time since I've recorded myself playing this piece. As I listened to my first few measures, I realized something, and it had nothing to do with the runs:
The first note of each measure in the LH is unnecessarily heavy. Too heavy. In fact, it has a funereal sound to it, or maybe just the sense of heavy, tired breathing: a slow BOOM da da da da da, BOOM da da da da da ..."
At first I wasn't sure why it sounded to sluggish, so I listened to my beloved Rubinstein, and then to me, and compared. Ahhhh ... something I never noticed. Many of Rubinstein's bass notes sound like they're just a tiny bit lighter and softer than the five that follow. My bass notes, on the other hand, were definitely the loudest of each respective grouping.
Another thing: I'm not playing each unit as a unit. It's more like the bass note is its own thing, while the next five are their own little unit. In the Rubinstein, the bass note is part of the six-note unit, not monopolizing it, not setting itself off by being noticeably louder or softer. It's very smooth. Mine sounds like we're taking a plunge every six notes.
I think I may also have been pausing just a little between that bass note and the others--not so much to disrupt, but just enough to give it a slightly ponderous effect.
So I'm going to actually practice this tonight. I'll record, listen, focus, work on achieving an evenness of tone that, who knows, perhaps I haven't had in years.
That's the hard thing about playing old pieces for years without a mind for continual improvement. You fall into habits without realizing it, and you're blind (deaf?) to them unless, which picking up the pieces at age 48, you sit down and play your own rendition back-to-back with a master's.
This is why I need a teacher! And it's possible my new piano teacher will have her work cut out for her.
I only played for ten minutes over lunch, but what a productive ten minutes it was! Looking forward to a good, and much longer, practice tonight.