Remember those ballet/soccer classes you took as a kid but abandoned mid-secondary to “focus on your studies”, yet never got back to them because other more important things came into your way, especially those new and appealing social events? You now most likely completely left this practice behind and moved on, but sometimes you look back thinking what would’ve happened if you continued. Those childhood memories will nevertheless always have a place in your heart. The other rarer side of the coin is that you actually pursued your passions to the maximum, entering competitions and perhaps even making it your field of work; but let’s face it, for the most of us it can only remain a hobby.
It is never easy to keep up with a passion when life gets busier. In my case, it is piano (and arts in general). I started when I was only 4 years old, obviously not by myself although I did choose it over ballet apparently, and it started off as a cultural obligation even though I showed potential. It was only later in life, especially with exposure to an artistic environment generating pleasure and bonding among fellow musicians, that allowed me to realize the joy of interpreting, and even creating music. Now I am majoring in business at university, where it is barely in any way affiliated with piano. Yet, I find that creating time is still possible. Not only is it possible, it gives back. When I get back to playing, every key I touch brings back a reminiscent melody of my childhood. To a new level, too. Whenever I’m felling up or down, I simply sit at my piano bench, take a deep breath and start channeling all my emotions. It can speak louder than words sometimes, making me feel as if I’m escaping time. Sounds a little magical but it’s fo real, and it’s all about continuing. Music saves souls.
So here I am playing a deep, dark, haunting Prelude by Sergei Rachmaninoff. During concerts, it’s a little different from intimate practicing because there’s the imminent rush of adrenaline and an audience to please. I love the thrill of it, and I want the audience to be as struck as I was when I first heard the piece. I want to deliver a performance that tells a story – one that they can follow and remember. In this case, Rachmaninoff being one of the pillars of romantic music, it is impossible not to put in dramatic emotion. He lived during Russia’s dark times at the beginning of twentieth century and felt great pain towards the fate of his motherland. However, living in a censored period, the only way he could express this sorrow was through his music. And it shows.
Finally, if you want to know how a composer sounds, I saw this humorous post that quite well summarizes what kind of limbs you should have instead if hands if you’re considering playing his works.