Raise a glass

Guess what, my bloggy friends – I have today been playing the piano!  Woo Hoo!!!

Ok, I realise this may not be that much of a big deal for you guys.  But it is for me.  As you may have read in various previous posts, I used to play pretty well.  And unfortunately I let my playing lapse after I left school.  But hey – these things happen.  And in recent times, I have been itching to get back to playing.

You may recall in particular, that listening to some of Beethoven’s music spurred me on to think about playing.  But I didn’t actually do anything about it – until today.

Here’s the proof, courtesy of Mr Tracks:

I know it looks like I am just sitting there, but I am actually playing, honest.  You will just have to take my word for it.

And on the left hand side of the Clavinova, shielded by Yours Truly, there is there is this picture, which I thought you would like to see:

My mother gave me this picture many years ago – cute, huh?

So what, or who, may you ask, has prompted all this ‘note-worthy’ activity?

Well, it is a certain Irish composer and pianist, John Field.  He is particularly known for developing the type of piano piece known as the ‘nocturne’ – and how well he did so.  Listening to his own compositions is like sitting beside the most gorgeously perfect babbling stream on a beautiful spring day, with not a care in the world.  The music ripples by effortlessly and one feels that one could just get up and play the pieces oneself, so simple do they seem….

Of course, they are not simple pieces at all.  I played a Field Nocturne for my Grade 8 piano exam (the highest of the Grades in the UK before one gets into Diplomas etc).  They are not easy, but so very worth the learning because of the reward once they can be played.

I also have two of his piano concertos – numbers 1 and 3, both in E Flat Major.  Now these are a very different matter – rather like a fullsome Burgundy compared with the lighter Beaujolais that is the Nocturnes.  One could be forgiven for thinking that one had stumbled in on some Beethoven, such is the quality of the overall finish.

Field was held in very high regard by his tutor, one Muzio Clementi, and his work influenced other great composers of piano works, not least Chopin, Brahms and Liszt.  It’s not surprising.  He has a deftness of touch – avoiding clever and complex compositions sounding dense and dull – quite the opposite in fact.

And most importantly for me, it got me back on the piano stool, so cheers, JF mate!

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8 thoughts on “Raise a glass

    1. “All sound heard at the greatest possible distance produces one and the same effect, a vibration of the universal lyre..” – guess who! Thanks for your encouragement – you feel only around the corner 🙂

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