So I bought a double recording of the WTC …

… by a pianist named Zhu Xiao-Mei, who is supposed to be a fabulous Bach interpreter, and who has had a hell of a life to boot. Started piano as a kid, got caught up in the Cultural Revolution in China, then got back to it a few years later when all that mess cleared up a bit. Thankfully, she seemed to have caught the tail end of it, so it didn’t upend her musical life entirely, like it did some people.

I’m just really getting tired of being limited by my (in)ability to handle or even approach virtuoso stuff. If I can’t play it, I can’t hear it, it seems. And I can’t write it if I can’t hear it. It’s maddening. I need better technique, but pursuing technique and writing are in a lot of ways opposed to one another since they both take 100% of your attention, and one is very careful and deliberate, while the other is a bit freer (at least at the start). It’s is extraordinarily difficult to do both; I guess this is why many composers built up crazy technique as kids, so that they have that foundation ready-built when they began to write their best stuff as adults. Now, doing that plus having a job is really hard. I’m wondering if I don’t want to find myself a teacher in my area who can push me a bit. I just cringe at the idea of having to take weekly lessons, since I already know that that is not going to work for me. It’s got to be every two weeks; that works quite well. Weekly is just not doable, and if it’s absolutely required, then I’m going to have to deal with this the best I can manage by myself.

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