The Brewmaster's Tavern, Williamsburg, Massach...
Image via Wikipedia

On Sunday I played the 3rd of 3 concerts based on the same program.  This was the Williamsburg, MA concert rescheduled from October.

Some thoughts about the day:

Getting there

The drive to Williamsburg was much easier today.  No storm!  We had lunch at the Brewmaster’s Tavern (pictured above), which was excellent.

Distractions

During the time between lunch and the concert (about an hour), there were any number of distractions.  I was focused, and found myself able to ignore them.

In the audience

A father walked in with his 2 young daughters.  They sat in the front row, right by the piano.  I was thrilled!

Just before concert time, a friend arrived.  It was very nice to see him.  He had come to the dinner during the power outage, and I had not expected him to make the trip a 2nd time.

Playing 3 concerts together worked!

My playing in this concert was the best of the 3, as it should be.  I wish the piano had been better, but I’m happy to have gotten something out of it.

Audience engagement

As is my habit, I spoke to the audience rather than providing printed program notes.

The Bach and Bach/Busoni shared the 1st verbal note.  I explained a few ways in which a fugue is different from a round.  And I shared a few details about Bach chorales.  (This was a Congregational church.  “Ich ruf’ zu dir” was not in either hymnal I consulted.)  Then I suggested that Busoni, a Romantic composer, would sound completely different from the prelude and fugue.

Everyone laughed when they heard that Mendelssohn‘s “Songs Without Words” have no words and never did.  Then I indicated that the 3rd and 6th pieces I would play had titles, inviting them to make up their own titles for the others.

I grouped the Liszt and Stamatelos together with the goal of introducing Katerina’s piece with Liszt’s “Nuages Gris.”

Everyone LOVED Katerina’s piece!  I was surprised, as this is a country church with an “older” congregation.  Describing how the piece was composed made a difference and piqued their interest.  And mentioning that Katerina and I “met” on Twitter wasn’t a bad thing to say, either.  They were also quite attentive when they learned that she lives in Greece.

This 3rd performance went so smoothly!  I am completely comfortable with the transitions between variations now, and could focus on expressing the music.

Before playing the Gershwin, I played a 4th on the piano, explaining that we aren’t accustomed to hearing that interval as a pleasant sound.  Then I added the 3rd below (to form an inverted triad), then 3rd below that.  Now that everything sounded normal again, everyone enjoyed the piece!

What’s next?

It’s time to watch some tennis!  (Barclays ATP World Tour Finals replay from earlier today in London, http://espn3.com)

BNP Paribas Masters

Image via Wikipedia

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!

E-books

Looking for practice inspiration? “Goal-oriented Practice: How to Avoid Traps and Become a Confident Performer” will give you a fresh perspective!

Goal-oriented Practice

August 2011 review by pianist Robert W. Oliver

When You Buy a Piano

How to Maintain Your Piano

Back to top