As you probably know by now, I retired from consulting and seminars on June 1, 2020 (but am focusing on books), and I gave a piano recital for my 75th birthday. Although the plan was to do it as a dinner and a recital with about 35 people, things changed because of Covid, so instead it was given with just my duet partners and the videographer with five cameras.
Since I know many of you are writers, I want to say a few things about the relationship of writing and music and piano. I have found that one art form moves easily into another and that some of the same disciplines, decisions, and reflections are very much the same. Having actually been a writer since the age of 10, and since I have been writing articles and then books for most of my adult life, I have found that spending many years writing and learning this art form has taught me about freedom in art. I have a saying, “I never have to do anything exactly like somebody else has done it!” And often I ask myself, “What do I bring to the party?” Part of Art is to bring something new and to feel the freedom to do that without compromising the discipline of the art.
As I returned to piano in 2017, I found that similar freedom I had learned in writing. I learned to look carefully at the dynamics that the composer had chosen, but I sometimes felt there was another aspect of this piece to bring out. Thankfully, I have three terrific piano teachers who support this sense of freedom. I would sometimes tell Abe, one of my piano teachers, “I know the composer wants me to play this fast and mf (mezzo forte, sort of loud), but I’m thinking of playing it slowly and softly, like a bird alighting on a lake at dusk.” I would show Abe what I was thinking of, and often he would say, “That is a viable musical decision! I have never heard it that way, but it works.” And sometimes he would tell me, “That’s interesting but it’s not Beethoven,” or whatever composer I happened to be playing. So there’s always this balance between the history and the discipline of the art form and the freedom to bring something very new to a piece of music.
If you want to watch the recital, here is the link. There are seven numbers: six of them are two piano pieces and one of them is a solo. The whole recital is about 50 minutes long– there are about 35 minutes of music, and then I talk a little bit in between. So sit back with a glass of champagne or a nice cup of tea and enjoy.