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.
A winter cold. This one has been particularly harsh, dampening my mood and the birthday celebrations on St Patrick’s Day. I spent most of St Patrick’s Day in bed before heading to my local pub with friends to celebrate with whisky and wine – although I felt much better in the morning.
I keep busy with work and language studies (French, German, Russian). At the moment, I’m polishing my piano repertoire with the First Polonaise by Franz Liszt.
My third book, My Musical Journey by Lawrence Estrey, is now available as a paperback and online. An autobiography, the book details my musical aspirations and various struggles along the way. Do consider popping over to Amazon to catch a preview on Kindle!
Storm EMMA has come and the temperatures have dipped. The snow has settled. Yesterday, I went to work and got back safely. The evening was freezing. The snow remains.
My latest book, an autobiography, My Musical Journey, is now available as an ebook on Amazon Kindle and as a paperback from Amazon (US). I’m still waiting for the booksellers in the UK to stock the book. Another week or so, I expect.
My Musical Journey by Lawrence Estrey
A teenage boy. A piano. Aspirations and ruin.
The narrative touches on a number of topics, including gangs, post traumatic stress, and religion.
Hi, I’m still waiting for the paperback copy of my book My Musical Journey by Lawrence Estrey, but the eBook version is now available on amazon Kindle.
The book tells my life story, paying particular emphasis to music – in particular, the piano and concert performance.
It feels strange going through the whole self-publishing process a third time, but I think it’s worth it.
Till next time.
Nine years ago, I started a WordPress blog. Somehow, I’ve managed to continue posting regularly, several times a month, for nearly a decade.
I don’t always know what to blog about. Some people would say, “blog about whatever is on your mind”. I think this probably works as a general principle. Whatever the case, I look forward to many more years of blogging.
I’m also working on a sister blog, a musical autobiography based on my piano training and musical journey. I eventually hope to publish some of the posts as a paperback.
I’ve reached that stage again. The final draft. Meticulous editing. Copy and paste. Spotting double full stops. Subtle grammatical errors. The process seems never ending.
I find writing rewarding, but frustrating at times, as errors seem to creep in, almost unnoticed.
I’m working towards a paperback of my life story, focusing on music and the piano. The book – My Musical Journey by Lawrence Estrey – covers a range of topics, including gangs, religion, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Part of the story takes place in Manchester. In the narrative, music and the piano play a pivotal role, creating a distraction from the chaos all around.
You can catch a taster by visiting my sister WordPress site. The book contains additional material.
I hope you will find the story interesting.
Freezing, but humid.
I got up early, stretched and did my breathing exercises, but felt tired and groggy.
Had a number of meetings and played the piano, but couldn’t shake off the malaise and exhaustion.
Went back to practise Beethoven’s Moonlight sonata, but couldn’t concentrate.
Arranged to meet a friend for coffee…and ended up leaving my sports bag somewhere.
Now, sitting with the heating on and the window open, and wondering when I last saw the sports bag.
I’m one of those people fortunate enough to have the ability to play works featured on Classic FM or Radio Three.
This morning, I enjoyed sitting at the piano and playing the Appassionata by Beethoven, the Second Ballade by Chopin, Hungarian Dances nos 1, 2 and 5 by Brahms, and the Nineteenth Hungarian Rhapsody by Liszt.
The Appassionata breaks the traditional boundaries of the Sonata, developing First Movement Sonata Form and introducing the abridged second and third movements. Despite the heights of emotion present in the writing, the work remains firmly in the Classical tradition, and not Romantic.
A fulfilling morning. Tired arms and wrists. Afterwards, I headed to Coffee Republic to practise my German with a friend from Germany.
Playing the piano. Classical. Jazz. Russian. Hungarian. Tango. Ragtime. Keep Fit. Ballet. Beethoven. Liszt. Brahms.
Morning. Afternoon. Evening. London.
This amazing gift that occupies so much of my time and pays my wages: the piano.
The sister blog is going well and contains some twenty posts or more, including videos of me playing the piano.
The material also covers difficult themes concerning serious gangs in the north of England, a narrow escape, and the psychological difficulties afterwards in the form of PTSD.
MyMusicalJourney by Lawrence Estrey