I just finished reading chapter 20 and found it very interesting! It hit on a couple points I am currently dealing with. The first is what Feuchtwanger teaches. I’ve heard others talk about that same philosophy about staying in a relaxed position, striking the note, and then going back to a centered repose. My own teacher has tried to get me to that too, because much of my tendonitis problem stems from remaining tense all the time when I play.
Oh, Monica, I didn´t know, that you have such a problem. I´m just going to read chapter 20 now and then I´ll write you my opinion to that. But I know, that an artificial tension all the time while playing is not a good thing.
I’m working on a piece with a difficult LH fast ascending arpeggio and when I do actually remember to relax, it goes better. However, I can’t relax too much or it doesn’t go at all. For me, I have to tell my brain to relax and don’t get so nervous about that arpeggio coming up. But when I actually start on it, I have to play really hard and forcefully to get it to go to the top.
My tip is: try not to think of it. Think of other things f.ex. or nothing and try to let through the music itself. The best way to solve problems is to let them and not to think of the problem, because we make them ourself (even if it is unconscious). I know, that this is easier said as done.
The other point I found interesting is when he admonished the young student when she didn’t want to take a repeat. I liked when Feuchtwanger said, "A repeat is never the same." Made me think of that Bach Aria in which you can play the ornaments differently in the repeats. Remember talking about that, Andreas? I was thinking of not doing a repeat in the same piece I’m working on that I mentioned up above, but now I think I will.
Yes, I do remember well, that we talked about this. For me the repeats mostly are very important because they are a certain chance, to say the same with other words, to bring change and interesting lightings and colours to the musical ideas.
To chapter 18 (The Deal): I found it very interesting, that Luc played the game with his dealer and his client "like Molière". That´s very French, this manner, and very clever. I find it likewise, that Luc takes the risc and trusts the dealer.
To chapter 19 (Beethovens piano): That was a very interesting and deep view into the piano-world of 18th and 19th century. I still have played on a "Tafelklavier" (virginal) of 18th century. It was in a castle and I asked, if I might play on it. The tone was really bell-like and soft and much more silent then the tone of our pianos of today. I also have some recordings of Jörg Demus, who plays on the Viennese piano of Beethoven, built by Graf in the 1820th. It was his last piano he possessed. I think, this one still has a metal frame, but it sounds very differently from todays pianos, its tone is much more thinner and its registers are much more imbalanced.
It´s a pity, that the art of wood is "out of the world, in which we live today", like it´s said in the novel. I fear in 200 years or so wooden pianos could be out of the world like this art of 18th century is still today. May be in 200 years there only will be electronic pianos or "virtual pianos". What do you think?
I´m going to chapter 20 right now! Hope I´ll finish it this evening! I really like this book very much!