Last night, I gave an evening performance at a house in north London and included the Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven, along with the 19th Hungarian Rhapsody by Liszt. Both works include virtuoso and stormy/loud sections, perhaps not generally suited for a performance in a living room, but on this occasion, the programme worked. That’s because I love performing, and this must have come across as I played.
Over breakfast this morning, I was thinking about a well-known phrase relating to dancers and wondering if the same applies to classical pianists. The phrase goes something like this: “if you don’t practise for a day, you notice. If you miss a couple of days, the other dancers notice. And if you miss three days of practise, the audience notices.”
Does the same to piano performers?
No, I would say. Standing back from a programme for a few days gives the pianist a fresh approach and results in a more convincing performance, in my opinion. Obviously, one shouldn’t miss more than a couple of days before a performance, but I think the generally accepted advice to dancers doesn’t apply to pianists. Of course, people shouldn’t/mustn’t forget to warm up before the performance. Personally, I favour the Czerny 8-bar exercises op 821 for warm up; scales and arpeggio don’t work.
Just a few of my thoughts.