I made three complete recordings of Mozart’s Sonata #12 in F Major, K332 this week. The first two were in the practice room. The third one was technically in the “practice room,” but we had a few friends over and put out wine and cheese and bread (and grapes and cucumber and dates and figs and nuts and a pear) and made it a performance.
You don’t need to watch any of these unless you really, really want to (the combined video length would be something like 90 minutes) but it’s worth noting that it takes me the entire first movement of the Mozart, in the performance video, to stop fracturing my attention with nerves and start focusing my attention on what I’m playing.
And, to be fair, it was appropriate to be a little nervous. The Chopin and the Stravinsky, both of which I also played during this mini-recital, were so well-prepared that I was able to present the music and be present with the music at the same time.
I was integrated, for lack of a better word, during those two performances.
The Mozart still needs work. You can tell, in the first two videos, exactly where it’s not fully prepared, not fully understood, not fully known yet. I knew that, going in, and I performed it anyway.
And, at various points in the performance, even when I am fully attentive to what I’m doing, it disintegrates.
Which is exactly what it’s supposed to do, at this point in the process. The idea that a performer can somehow pull a perfect rendition of something they haven’t perfected yet, simply by will or emotion or heart or love or whatever, is a myth. A fantasy. The kind of thing we hope for because it means we’ll be able to avoid doing the work.
On the other hand, this kind of low-stakes house-concert performance is an excellent way to show you what you need to work on next — in part because what falls apart is often what isn’t working for some other reason, and the reason it falls apart is because you know it isn’t working yet.
Just like my reading L a chunk of the novel I’m writing (which I did, this Wednesday) was an excellent way to show me what was working and what wasn’t working and I needed to work on next.
It’s all part of the process — and the process works, if you’re willing to both participate in it and process what you learn.
I like the process, even when I wish it would go a little bit faster. ❤️
Where I got published this week
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We post roundups of writing and literary jobs once a week. Here’s our list for October 15, 2021.
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