Just over a year ago, I started a blog about my life as a musician. Several months later, I published the material as an autobiography – My Musical Journey by Lawrence Estrey, available as a paperback and ebook from online sellers and through order at major UK bookshops.

This entry focuses on my training with an international concert pianist who coached me free of charge for two years:

I’d been in London nearly two and a half years, and lived in the downstairs of a house in Palmers Green. Life remained a series of ups and downs – unexpected opportunities and new friendships alternating with periods of uncertainty.

When the Fritz Gottlieb Memorial Scholarship came to an end, Vera Yelverton and I parted company on good terms and the international concert pianist I’d met in East Finchley agreed to take me on next, free of charge.

Under her supervision, I studied Chopin studies, Bach’s Chromatic Fantasie and Fugue, Debussy’s Estampes, Mendelssohn’s Serieuses Variations op54, and the demanding Liszt Dante Sonata with its octave flying sections and sobbing G minor chords in the middle section.

Apart from the Fugue from the Chromatic Fantasy, I performed all the works from memory. My entire conception of piano playing changed and I finally learnt about the correct use of the wrists. Crucial.

I gave some fifty concerts over a two year period, culminating in another recital at St Lawrence Jewry, Central London. This time, I chose the most technically demanding and psychologically daunting programme to date – Bach’s 2nd Prelude and fugue from book 1, the Serieuses Variations by Mendelssohn and Liszt’s Dante Sonata.

No problems.

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