Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pathetically Battling Beethoven

Tenacity, A Papercast Relief, 31" x 35", 1979

Since last winter, I've been banging my head against Beethoven's Pathetique Sonata Op. 13. While the
Adagio cantabile movement was relatively easy to learn, the Grave movement, the opening movement, is full of finger taxing runs and fast chord changes, but I keep at it. Finger dexterity is something I want to keep. It's as important in holding and manipulating a paint brush as it is getting those runs smooth.  

Here's my struggle, a glimpse at the number of failures I am going through morning after morning to concur this piece at least at an old lady's pace, but nonetheless smoothly and accurately. Note the hands relief piece hanging on the wall behind me. It's a papercast I made years ago. Tenacity is the title. Tenacity is what makes art. I knew it then; I really know it now.

Pencil study for Tenacity
Video is a medium I could get interested in.  I didn't bother scripting this one,plotting frame after frame or doing any fancy graphics, I spontaneously decided to show the pain average people all over the world go through passionately chasing an art.  

I really went out on a limb with this one. I published it on You Tube in order to publish it on the iPad, but it didn't work. I suspect there is a less humiliating way to do it, but I couldn't think of it. Whatever it is, don't tell me. I don't want to know I could have spared myself the disgrace. I'm in it now with lots of youknowwhatyoushouldhavedones dancing in my head. One plus from this exercise was I sat at the piano and then at the computer long enough to know my knee is fit to go out to dinner. Now cover your ears or listen if you dare to the persistant pain grace demands.




POST SCRIPT: I chickened out and locked the public out. I'm not ready for prime time. I then downloaded the YouTube Capture app and learned a few basics on making a video--like turn the iPad screen to the horizontal position. What was I thinking? Of course. The the app lets you adjust lighting, enhance color, and add music. I'll  take another crack at making a video of a piano practice session tomorrow. Meanwhile consider this initial attempt a sign that I'm going stark, raving mad in the house looking for creative outlets that allow you to sit.







21 comments:

  1. You made my morning - loved hearing you play - I'd like to see those hands making the runs though.
    Keep at it. I gave up the piano decided I'd rather listen to than butcher the music!!

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    1. I gave up the piano at 15, then took it up again at 60. It wasn't like riding a bike. It turns out, I love it--but only playing Beethoven, poor guy. I really do like the work out the finger exercises and the Sonatas and sonatinas give my hands. I also like the work out playing gives my brain. You really can't perfect the intonations until you've memorized a piece. This one is not even close to that stage. I'm glad someone enjoyed me making a fool of myself. I'm glad my knee has gained back the stamina to sit at the piano as long as I did fooling around making this video. That's progress.

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  2. Hi Linda,
    Guts and determination...I like that in a woman! :) Bravo, Linda...Bravo.
    Sincerely,
    Gary.

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    1. Crazy Gary, crazy. But I did sit at the piano bench normally for a couple of hours. Videos are fun, but when filming yourself, yourself becomes too aware of yourself in the camera. Lucky for Beethoven and me that the piano is a side interest. Fun morning filled with interesting new things learned and a lot of sitting normally. PT is very advantageous.

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  3. OMGosh, Linda!!! I loved it!!...You are amazing and its so nice to meet you!!! You are incredibly talented....I will watch it again tomorrow..LOL

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    1. There won't be any today. Just returned from a PT workout; they knock me out, but I gain so much from them. I was thinking, today might be the day to go downstairs to my watercolor station and fool around with some real paint. I have no idea what I'll paint, but it's a step in the right direction. That video is lots of laughs. I'll keep it so the kids can remember what a nut their mom was--and that she did play the piano poorly.

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  4. Linda, it was so good to see you "live!!! I appreciate how you feel about mastering a piece - studied piano for 15 years, and finally gave up when I reached the stage where my hands and fingers could not reach the octave-and-a-quarter stretches. Your rose is very striking - love how you rendered the leaves. And I LOVE your two works of "Tenacity". The papercast is so cool! Keep those fingers nimble!

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  5. PS - That Beethoven sounds like a stinker to play. I was visualizing the manuscript - covered in notes!!!

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    1. It's taken me a long time to discypher the chords, but I do like the challenge and if you work at Beethoven eventually, his chording makes sense and flows. The speed of some of these movements is something I will never achieve, but I do have a good time trying. The piano is a nice release--at this age when my mom doesn't have her foot in my back pushing me to practice. I think it was that practice nagging that made me rebel finally at fifteen--or else my interest in boys. :-))

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  6. I am fascinated by hands, and I love both your works! Loved to hear you play, and see you 'live'!

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    1. It's good to be fascinated by hands. It helps in figurative drawing. There's nothing worse than a figure having two oven mitts in a rendering. :-))

      That was an example of a bad practice session. I can play smoother when a camera isn't pointed at me. I'm one of those who doesn't like to play for an audience, so I guess there's some theraputic value in video taping sessions? Maybe I'll get easier with it?

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  7. Wonderful to see and hear you. Thanks.

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    1. At my worst. I am so sick of wearing warm up clothes. I feel like I've been in pjays forever. This afternoon. I thought I'd try a real pair of pants. Dressing up may or may not work? My knee doesn't like being covered for long; the incision is still sore, but I'll try. Everyday, just a little bit better.

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  8. Pretty darned good, I'd say!! If my piano had someone to practice Beethoven on 150 times, it'd bust a string! Looks great against the wall though. I'm disappointed that you took the video away from the public on You Tube - I thought you were going to become the next meme! (I learned the term "meme" from my son.) (Clear throat). I am taking my word for it that it is you playing since we never see the piano!!

    Great piece of art - perfect title. I agree what you say about art. Tenacity. Tenacity. Tenacity. Even typing it three times is difficult!

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    1. You don't see the key board because I propped the iPad against the music stand. But go ven this opportunity to say that wasn't me murdering Beethoven, it was Van Claiburn, I'll take it. If I ever get that Sonata down in whole and learn to ignore the camera, I'll do a proper video. It was a fun morning, the first I've spent any real time sitting at the piano since my surgery. Tenacity applies to everything we wish to do well. That's why I dug out the photos of those hand pieces. That's why I practice Beethoven an hour to two hours as soon as the clock hits nine AM.

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  9. I admire your determination, and love your fearlessness and creativity. I believe you can do ANYTHING! And such fun, too, if I need a smile, I know where to go.
    Tenacity I BRILLIANT!

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    1. Thank you Sharon. Smiling, laughing, fooling around keep us young. Tenacity is key to achievement--along with a loo wallpapered with rejection slips. You're on your way; I haven't even cracked the door open.

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  10. You are fabulously deep and dedicated. I must give you a hand.

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    1. A lovely compliment and delighted chuckle to wake up to JJ. Thanks. My mom called me a nut. I think she was on to something. I call it an inner child that's very much alive. My curiosity pushes me into many adventures.

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  11. Linda, I don't know how I missed this post, but I just saw it this morning. Haa how I love seing you practice. You look so at ease, as if you've done this all your life. Lucky you! But I guess it is a long road to get to that point. Great video and magical hands! Have a beautiful week!

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    1. This video shows you how deperate I am to fill time. I am no where close to prime time when it comes to playing Beethoven. What I love about his music is the trills, the runs, the passion, the challenge that a sheet of his music makes when you first see all the big chords calling for a wide hand spread. I do not have wide hands, but slurs will do. I do like making it all come together--NOW. As a kid at the piano, it was my mom's choice not mine. Yet I must have gotten something out of all those arguements to practice, for now do, a couple of hours a day. And after all that time, I'm still an amateur with no particular skills. I just like making the sounds and having them reverberate around the house. I like how it helps me work out stress, how it strengthens my hands and my arms and keeps them as fit as this body allows at this time in life. My piano is a joy.

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