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#415279 - 08/23/01 05:03 AM More nerves
BruceD Online   content

Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 19840
Loc: Victoria, BC
Last evening on PBS's "Live from Lincoln Center" Emmanuel Ax gave a beautiful performance of Mozart's Piano Concerto No 22 in E flat, K482.

During the intermission interview with Beverly Sills, when asked how he prepared for the performance Ax said that he "practiced like crazy and worried like crazy." He says that before a public performance he is always "nervous [and] scared to death [and] always glad when it's over."

And he confirmed what we have often said on this forum that Mozart is one of the most difficult composers to play well; because of the economy of Mozart's writing the Mozart pianist is more "exposed" than when he is playing the music of other - particularly later - composers; there is much "less room for error."

For a pianist of Ax's stature, to admit publicly not only to being "nervous" but even to being "scared to death" before a performance should be heartening to us lesser mortals who wonder if it's normal to be nervous or if it ever goes away.
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#415280 - 08/23/01 05:07 AM Re: More nerves
yok Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/01
Posts: 497
Loc: New Zealand
I read something interesting today. The composer/pianist Henselt got so nervous during the orchestral tuttis prior to his entry in concertos that he couldn't sit there and wait - he had to run on stage just before his entry!

BTW, that's so true about Mozart, and not only because the clear textures leave you exposed - it's also because the closer something is to perfection, the less it takes to stuff it up.

#415281 - 08/23/01 01:59 PM Re: More nerves
ZeldaHanson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/31/01
Posts: 276
Loc: Cape Cod, MA, USA
Glenn Gould was also INCREDIBLY nervous about playing in front of an audience. Particulary because he heard that some people only went to watch his peculiar moves at the piano. It made him nervous that people were watching how he moved instead of listening to the music. It also made him scared that the audience wouldn't accept his interpretation of the pieces. But it didn't scare him enough to change his views on the pieces because he still played them the way he felt. He feared public humiliation also, which was one of his reasons for staying away from large crowds as often as possible. He didn't want to make any mistakes. People are so afraid of making mistakes that they can't fix, mistakes that will interrupt the whole process of playing the piece all the way through. That's what I'm scared of too.
Glenn Gould in regards to music:

The problem begins when one forgets the artificiality of it all, when one neglects to pay homage to those designations that to our minds-to our reflect senses, perhaps-make of music an analyzable commodity. The trouble begins when we start to become so impressed by the strategies of ours systematized thought that we forget that it does relate to an obverse, that it is hewn from negation, that it is but a very small security against the void of negation which surrounds it.

#415282 - 08/23/01 02:40 PM Re: More nerves
ryan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
For Artur Rubinstein, mistakes and memory slips became an opportunity to improvise, which he did on a number of occasions. Nobody in attendance ever seemed to complain either, at least not that I have heard... I sure wish I could have seen him in performance.


#415283 - 08/23/01 05:02 PM Re: More nerves
Amy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/07/01
Posts: 433
Loc: Upstate New York
I wish that I could've seen Rubinstein! He's my favorite!
Emanuel Ax does have some strange moves! I've seen him live before. Most of the great pianists were nervous before a performance.
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