Life According to Piano

Roots, of a sort

I’m preparing repertory for my autumn concerts and yet again I came across a beautiful piece of mine that I had forgotten about. Well, there are many many pieces now, and I cannot keep them all in repertory all the time, so some are played less and then I forget that they are there. (This is why having published everything in print is so useful for me—I can re-learn my own music!)

Would I be a pianist at all if it weren’t for George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue? Possibly not. My parents had a recording of it when I was very young and it was my very favorite music. I would dance around to it! Then my older sister was learning to play the piano version of it, and that became my goal when I started lessons: to play Rhapsody in Blue. I still remember puzzling out the first page as soon as I could read the notation well enough to do so, long before I could reach octaves or really approach any of the technique required to actually play the music. I played the (clarinet) trill with the index fingers of each hand. I wasn’t deluding myself, I was well aware that I couldn’t really play the music yet. I just desperately wanted to!

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