Wednesday, 27 May 2009

No Camera No Pics

I thought I could live without a camera in the pocket ... so to speak .. but I am missing it. 
It died!  So I have to start investigating a new one .. Blogging isn't quite so exciting without photos ... and I feel I need to breathe in some new life ... 

Progress for My Son and Bee

Hey, hey, they're moving along!  Well done! 
I have just borrowed the pic from my son's blog..Wendy Ann 2.
Neat work Sebs and Bee! 

Sunday, 17 May 2009

I played for Laurie

Yeah, I did it with only a minor hiccough.  When  I think how nervous I used to get 30 years more or less ago about playing piano in public, I can't believe that this year I didn't have any stomach or head cramps before I performed.  I kept the breathing regular, because  NOW I KNOW that is what I have to do.... and I felt proud, yet quite unemotional that I had made a good contribution to my piano teacher's pupil's concert.  It was for her that I did my best!
It was for her that I knew I must not make a terrible error.
We played the first two movements of the Schubert Fantaisie and it was so wonderful to play with another human being and touch parts of my soul that as a solo pianist I do not touch. It is difficult to explain.   Of course, now I would like to learn the 3rd movement and continue to play with Laurie. She is so inspiring and motivatingly positive.  
After the Schubert I sat down , only to be invited to play "The Heart that Asks for Pleasure First" from the film THE PIANO.  Well, I can't believe how well I played it ... maybe it was a little fast to start with, but it settled down, and I think it was the best I have played it outside of my living room.  I could hold my head up high because I had not let myself down with nervousness nor let my piano teacher down. I think Mary Ash my original piano teacher and my college teacher, Mary Peppin  would also have felt proud.  Thankyou to Mary, Mary and Laurie my piano teachers who have all been 'top professionals'.  I have been very fortunate to have had such specialist teachers.  My very first music teacher was French (Mme Boucher I think)  and at primary school she taught me the little piano accordion, which I still have, ... and then I went to a well-renowned accordionist Martin Lukins for lessons and played in accordion groups and solo stage performances. 
Maybe with courage I will get the big 100 bass out again and hope it has not got too wheezy-squeezy!!
But for now I really am enjoying playing my piano... the fingers are so much stronger ... and if I type properly supporting my wrists, then I shouldn't get the wrist problems that I sometimes do, even without computer use.  
I am a lucky girl because I can immerse myself in just playing the piano if I want!!!  
Debussy next... here I am come with ' Dancing in the Rain'... in the last week, here in our corner of France, it has done nothing but rain!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Schubert Fantasie in F minor (4 hands) op. 103

At the pending  l'audition (lor - diss - ee - on)  when all the pupils of my  piano teacher give their annual end of academic year recital, my piano teacher and I will attempt to play the first two movements of this piece.   I am sad to say that I did not work hard enough to get the last movement up to spec and even the 2nd movement is 'touch and go'.  Still, there is one week left and I have to practise one hour each day to improve the hand /brain /eye co-ordination difficulties!!!  Here is one of the better 'youtube' recitals... it is performed at about our speed... but do ignore the breath intakes of the players!  It is in two parts  ... 

Also, I may be required to play a solo. If so, I think I will choose to play "The Heart that Asks 
for Pleasure" from The Piano, one of my favourite films. When I first viewed this film, I had to 
leave the cinema, cry in the toilet cubicles, and only emerge when my daughter
became concerned for my emotional well-being!! The last time I watched the DVD I had my
eyes closed during a certain scary and physically unpleasant (to a pianist) passage!!

Sunday, 3 May 2009

L'Ancien Théâtre

I was overawed to see this exquisitely preserved but fragile Italian renaissance theatre at the end of an exhibition  hall that we have been to many times.   We knew that it was the site of a former church and a theatre but we had no idea what was beyond the  closed doors. Veritable Magnificence!

I had my own personal tour!!  A former French physician very kindly provided me lots of information about the history of the theatre.  He worked there as a volunteer but explained that it is very hopeful that the theatre will arrive on the list of National French Monuments by next month and restoration will start.  We conversed in French and in English. He wanted to speak English and I ploughed on in French!!  Soon an American gentleman came to the discussion.  I was asking lots of questions about when it started and when it closed. We discussed the seating, the balconies, galleries, the paintings, the original fabric of the building, and how there were two theatres - one on stage and on in the audience because the people were finely dressed and used to participate with the actors on stage.  Of course when it opened Châtellerault was a rich town with the Arms  Factory and the Cutlery industry.  He showed me where the Maire would sit, below him were the Pompiers (firemen)  and on the opposite side of the stage would have sat the Sous-Prefet and below him the Police.  The theatre could also be transformed by the addition of a false floor installed above the seating ... Voila ... a dance floor!!

I collected a leaflet, declining for the moment to purchase the books and postcards. But I have just discovered this link:

Evidently the acoustics are brilliant and a 'chuchoter' can be heard distinctly.   Also there are about 50 Italian theatres in France, some of which are fully restored. 

I must go back again!