Fine! At long last!
I only had to cut down one eleventh reach and kept another somewhat catty-cornered almost-tenth with an inconvenient Bnat in there, so I’m pleased. Now it’s just a matter of doing it a million times to engrave it on my convolutions. I think I’m content to say that I can reach a tenth depending on the bits in the middle, and leave it at that for now. We’ll see how that evolves. I find myself having to tell myself, “Reach! Stretch your hand and work for it!” (I’m very glad that I have large hands, though. I haven’t the slightest idea how Montero manages what she does; her hands are quite small, but she can do things I can’t dream of in a million years.)
It’s a great piece — nice and cantabile, enough of a challenge to keep me from getting bored (although I did have to shave off a few corners), pretty enough to keep me happy (and any audience should I ever decide to allow anyone else to hear me), but simple and andante enough to allow me to settle into it at my own pace. Had I not been distracted with mere working for a living, I would have had this piece down in less than two weeks, which makes me very pleased considering it’s the first thing I ever attempted after an 18-year hiatus.
I’m also happy that the octave work doesn’t intimidate me, whereas when I was younger, it would have done so. I may have lost some of my precision, but I gained something very valuable simply by dint of aging. That’s a stunning revelation to me. I’m very glad that my favorite type of music is more tolerant of the middle-aged and elderly now. I wish rock were more so, although it’s not as bad as it could be, at least for men. Women are still hooked off the stage at 40, unfortunately. If Martha Argerich has worthwhile things to say, it’s inconceivable that Ann Wilson and Deborah Harry wouldn’t.
I’ve printed a few nice things from IMSLP in the meantime and may work on John Field’s Nocturne #5 after this. I had played that when I was very young and remember it being, like “The Last Spring,” pretty enough to impress people, cantabile enough to make my happy playing it, andante enough to not present insurmountable challenges, and without the knuckle-cracking reaches that surprised me in the Grieg piece. (I may go on a Chopin strike in fact, simply to prove a point and to distance myself from my youth. They say that progress lies in the direction you haven’t gone before.)
Then, it’s music theory tomorrow, so I can start recognizing what I’m listening to instead of poking around randomly on the keyboard trying to find a modulation that I know is there but that I can’t find for the life of me.
Eventually, I’d like to begin working on some Styx (the more heavily DeYoung-influenced stuff) and early Journey, but the Journey may prove difficult since it’s so strongly vocal. The piano really is the wrong instrument to carry an entire song by Journey, although it can support it very nicely (Rolie and Cain both did and have been doing it for decades). But in terms of carrying the entirety of anything by Journey, a small chamber group or string quartet really is the ideal means once one moves away from the standard modern-band-plus-voice. It should prove interesting.