Seizing a quick moment inbetween tasks to share Part VI of my section-by-section play-through of Chopin’s Ballade number 2 here.
– I exploit the spare memory of our new au pair mobile phone, and manage to record all of 12 mins of joyous music and exposition… and then the front door opens, and I get interrupted (AGAIN). So we’re back to a cliffhanger with this one
– I demonstrate plenty of flaws, starting from not being sure whether the recording had started and rather daftly saying “hello” twice. But I have deliberately left these “embarrassing” flaws in. Because I am no longer embarrassed by them.
I meant it to the letter when I started Part I of this little personal project by referencing Angela Duckworth pointing out that SO LITTLE of the failings, errors, slips, gritted teeth, try-agains, fail-agains, try-again-agains etc get SEEN by anybody else other than the practicer.
And *this* is a big problem. Because it gives everybody else the false impression that it’s “so easy” when actually it’s not. At all.
Doesn’t matter whether the thing being practiced is a sprint, a pitch, or an arpeggio. A deck, a pose, or a parenting moment.
We ALL have to submit ourselves through the teeth-gritting, aarrrghhing, mistake-strewn, discouraging process.
This is called “learning”.
And I’m weirdly happy to be sharing these aarghhs with you. (Spoiler – there are at least 3. ) I am aware that much of this stuff I play is not common repertoire for the living room player. It’s not like it comes easy for me, either. I have had to earn every note, every chord, every page committed to memory, every stupid difficult aggravating tripping-up phrase that I keep falling on again and again and again – until I iron the kinks out, by sheer practice.
There is just no other way.
And this is in itself such a powerful life lesson to be reminded of. Again and again.
Cos sometimes it is just easier to give up.
If you give up…
That piece, that pitch, that *thing* you want so much, that you yearn for, that you just want to own, as part of you –
Remains not yours.
And THAT can really suck.
What I have just described above is what the mechanics of motivation can *sound* like.
And when you are a little more aware of one’s inner language that might run like this,
You gain more agency… whether to let your inner narrative get overrun by such drives (which can easily be too much of a good thing), or to consciously be able to yoke these drives, towards a cause you consciously deem worthy.
Over and inbetween the struggling bits, I dare say you will find some petite treasures.
I absolutely loved playing this section.
And I loved having the insights bubble irrepressibly forth in my head, in the process of sharing their beauty with you.
I have, through these last pidgin 6 clips, discovered so much more about the hows and the whys of the magical pleasure this wonderful Ballade suffuses me with.
It is exactly as Dr Alan Wallace taught us during our meditation retreat. The training of the paying of close attention *is* its own reward. The more subtlety you can perceive, the more marvellous and delightful the thing you are perceiving becomes.
And if the apocryphal yogis can derive bliss from watching paint drying this way – in this clip at least you can watch me undertaking an analogous process, working off the far more generous material of one of Chopin’s greatest. enjoy.
Earlier parts of this section-by-section dissection () of this piece, Chopin’s Ballade Number 2, here:
If you’re impatient and wanna know what the whole piece sounds like, here’s Rubinstein:
And here’s Pollini’s take: