Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Muse in Music...

A fan came up to me a few weeks ago and told me that she was opening a music store, catering to trained musicians. I had told her how all my sheet music was still in Las Vegas, especially my urtexts of the Beethoven Sonatas.

Well, imagine my surprise when she came in a couple of nights ago and handed me a brand-new urtext Peters edition of the complete Beethoven Sonatas, Band I.

So the last two nights have seen me plowing through Beethoven. I've been sight-reading some of it, only to discover that my sight-reading has gotten worse through eight years of neglect! Well, to be more precise, I still immediately read the music, but my fingers are very, very unused to playing the classical figures they used to be intimate with. I've also been woodshedding the Sonata No. 14, Op. 27 No. 2 in c# minor - more commonly known as the "Moonlight" Sonata.

The first movement I learned as a teen - what pianist hasn't? In college, I never cared for the second movement, but during my sophomore year I worked my ass off trying to learn the third movement. At the time, my technique was simply not up to the task.

Well, my technique is now sufficiently advanced - I don't need to worry so much about if I can play the notes - I can. Now I get to focus on how I play the notes! Which brings me to the second movement - the notes are easy, but playing them the way they're written? Wow - it requires phenomenal control.

I am falling in love with the music of Beethoven all over again, and finding it means even more to me now. It's like meeting up with your teenage puppy-love and discovering that you've both grown and are more compatible.

Strangely, this doesn't make me want to play Beethoven for a living, or classical music. This is music to touch my own heart. This is something that I will happily share, but I don't want to get frustrated when it doesn't mean to others what it means to me. I don't want to try to move others with it; I'm happy with the way it moves me. This is intimate, personal. When it comes to performance, it's all about giving the audience what they want, what they need. Here, I am my own audience.

Oh, the fire is burning again, though, and it feels good. It makes me concentrate on the first syllable of music - that siren song of the muse.

I'm going to turn the metronome on again and polish a little bit more of this now. Hope everybody is enjoying their Labor Day weekend!

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