The next piece

I need to start a Glinka piece that my teacher assigned to me, but I feel like I want to sit on the Bochsa for a while.

I’ll get started on the Glinka tonight. I’m glad that I really do like Glinka, but I miss the etudey feel of the Bochsa. It’s nice when a piece just lets you work out a particular technique over and over until it feels relaxed.

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Hit the end of the Bochsa #2

Now I didn’t really hit it. It was more of a glancing blow. I want to stay on it for another two weeks so I can really nail it down and feel like I have my feet under me, but nevertheless I’ve managed to get to the end, and I’m really happy with it. It’s a pretty piece, very lyrical, and I can feel it doing good things to my right hand.

Heel platforms

BTW, these things are awesome to turn upside down and put behind the pedals of your harp to get your heels off the ground and make pedal changes much easier. With them, I can play in my socks, which makes it much easier and more pleasant for me. I don’t like to wear shoes with significant heels anyway, and when I play, playing without shoes allows me to feel the pedals.

I’ve always done this sort of thing with everyone from my piano to my sewing machine: stacking thick books behind the foot pedals so that I can use them without discomfort or shoes. Highly recommended. They should boost your heels by at least 2.75″ to be useful. I set the largest one upside-down along the right-side pedals, the next largest behind the left-side pedals, and use the smallest one to hold my crochet hooks. 🙂

Argh.

I really need to find a solution for crossing under by two strings when my left hand is up past the middle of the harp. Right now, I feel like I have to dig my elbow into my ribcage to manage it.

The thing is, this wasn’t a problem before I started recognizing and attempting to crush out other problems. Now, this one pops up since I’m running out of brain to keep track of all of these things, which I suspect is typical when one’s technique is still developing. I don’t recall this being an issue on the piano to this extent, but then I started on that one when I was young and probably just don’t remember it (and to be honest, never really conquered it there either).

My timing has also completely gone to hell because of this. I don’t have enough control yet to really get that as dead on as I need to, and what good is a percussive instrument like a harp without good timing? It’s like being a drummer: you’d damned well better have good timing because it’s the lion’s share of why you’re there in the first place.

More Bochsa

I think my hands are loosening up — although I’m getting more flexibility in my left hand, it’s causing me to change how I do things. I think it was Ben Folds who remarked once that when you take a step forward, you often suck for a bit while you’re integrating the new knowledge into your current way of doing things.

Ooh.

The Philadelphia Orchestra and Daniil Trifonov are going to do the second two Rach piano concerti next April. Of course the one I want to hear live is the second, and they are doing the third on the weekend, so I’ll have to take a day off work, but damn it, I’m doing it.

If an orchestra is a sportscar, Mozart is the guy who takes it on a Grand Prix track through some tiny European city with itty-bitty twisty roads. Beethoven is the one who takes it out to a mountain road and careens it around turns, and Rach is the one who takes it out to the Bonneville Salt Flats, drops a brick on the accelerator, and just leaves it there for 30 minutes to see what happens.

I mean, when you go into a concert hall, and you see that they had to put the stage extensions on so everyone could actually have a seat, and there’s four harps on stage and four tubas, you know you’re about to have yourself a good time.

Link

(And I’m sorry, but I have to think of the Bartok as the castor oil part of the concert. You get to hear Rach 2, but you have to do your penance afterwards.)