Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Yer Blues, or a little navel gazing

I don't know if other people experience this -- though I'd guess they do -- but the slump I feel after a performance is in direct inverse proportion to the importance of the performance.  For me, this last concert was high profile. It was in front of a fairly large (at least 100 people), at least partly paying (either subscribers or individual ticket buyers at $15 to $20 each), audience with some expectations of me (e.g., one person called out to me afterward something like, "Up to your usual high standards!"). Some were friends and acquaintances who had never heard me before, including one of the managers from work. I also put really a lot of work into preparing, as you may have noticed if you've been reading my posts here.

That it went well has left me with a peculiarly deflated feeling that I've been trying to pin down. It is perhaps composed somewhat of the awareness that this was a little taste of what I spent so many years preparing for and the realization that yes, if I work hard enough I can still play pretty well under pressure. Playing well in front of an audience provides a bit of a high, from the adrenaline and the creative energy. There's perhaps a little niggling feeling that maybe that is what I should be doing rather than sitting in an office all day peering at manuscripts and page proofs.

If I were to play the piece again, particularly in the near future, it would perhaps go even better. But I will probably never play it again -- or at least not with an orchestra. There's some sadness in this.

And then, I have now turned to the problem of preparing a short Brahms piano piece for a master class in about a week and a half, and this is showing me how my piano playing has such a very long way to go. My struggles make me wonder what on earth I was thinking even signing up for this. And the fact that I know the teacher from way back when we were both much younger (and when I was rather supremely dorky) introduces a certain social anxiety to the situation.

Adding an extra little something to all this was a comment made about me during what I thought was an innocent discussion on Piano World the other day. I posted a question, asking about editions of the Beethoven piano sonatas, and people offered lots of interesting comments and recommendations. I thought it was a nice thread with useful information. But then one person decided to get snotty about it. He (or she, but I think it's a he) seemed to have gotten his/her panties in a twist about the cost of some of the better editions -- who knows why? Money troubles? Reverse snobbery?

I need to explain that I currently have a silly signature line that looks like this:

Recovering cellist, amateur pianist.

So someone with the screen name "Entheo" said:
ah, if only spending the extra money would allow us 'recovering cellists' and 'amateur pianists' to perform beethoven in the brendelian manner, then my credit card would be at the ready.

. . .  i must say i think this thread became a bit of a runaway train wrt setting expectations of what editions are appropriate and which ones are not for those of us who are simply trying to scale these mountains, not necessarily with the panache befitting these monuments. but if owning a lamborghini that you are only capable of driving 50 mph is your thing, more power to you.
Well, gosh. And no one really came to my defense, either. Well, what can you expect from a bunch of pixels? I'll just tootle off in my overpriced edition of the Beethoven sonatas (which should arrive in the mail next week) and leave them to insult each other if that's what turns them on.

That's my ramble on my state of mind this week, for what it's worth.


pdxknitterati/MicheleLB said...

You know, there always has to be one complete turkey on the forums, and you found him. Don't sweat it. He's not worth the bother.

Harriet said...

I know, but I still felt, "Why me?" when there are so many other juicier targets to pick on. After all, I didn't even try to imply that I thought I was in the same universe as Alfred Brendel. I just wanted a nice edition of the Beethoven sonatas! And I'm getting one.