Haendel à la “Asturias”

This is sort of fun. Nasty to play, but at this point, I pretty much expect myself to write stuff that makes me go, “Oh shit,” and wonder how the hell I’m going to play it. I really do wish I had better technique, but I don’t think I’m ever going to get it really, at least not consistently — and that’s probably the bane of every composer (with the exception of freaks of nature like Rachmaninoff). You write something that pushes your boundaries, and you want to take it to the woodshed … but then along comes a shiny new idea, and you need to work that out, so you do … and while you do, the next shiny new idea pops up and before you know it, you can’t play the first damn thing you came up with anymore because you’re already four ideas further along from it. 😦 It’s my own goddamned stuff, and I have to go back and relearn it from the sheet music! Cosmic injustice!

I can’t remember who it was, but some big-name pianist from the early 20th century once described a buddy of his who was also a great pianist, but who then got sucked into composing, and as a result, he couldn’t perform anymore because his technique went to hell. I’m also reminded of the stories about how Scott Joplin used to get his ass kicked in cutting contests by other pianists playing his own music, which I find perversely reassuring.

This is the real reason why people like to learn as much technique as early on as possible — not for some bullshit pop-sci neurological reason, but because it lets you ignore your technique when you get bitten by the composing bug and still sound vaguely passable. I’m still really conflicted about the fact that I’m writing a bunch of music that probably will never get heard because I can’t actually play it well enough to get an audience.

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