Week 4: For Francks Sake / by Maire Carroll

Tensions are rising and my final undergraduate recital is just around the corner. I’ll be performing an hour long recital of music including: Bach Italian Concerto, Schubert Trockne Blumen Variations for flute and piano, Poulenc Sonata and Ginastera Piano Sonata No.1. I’ll also be up bright and early as the recital begins at the painful hour of 9 am!!

I’m struggling this week with memorising the Franck. There are numerous twists and turns and my dear César Franck was very fond of stating a musical idea and then changing one single note in the same pattern leading it from major to minor or vice versa. It is all very clever but it can make the running passages that fly by seem very dangerous. After the A section comes to a close, the piano introduces a murmuring semiquaver passage alongside the theme (now in the major) which is played by the cellos. Again the ideas are repeated once in the minor, then in the major until the piano and woodwind lead us to a silvery peaceful heaven like episode. Dreamy though it may be, I can’t be too relaxed… I wouldn’t want to take the wrong turn! 

Aside from the memory, the work requires a huge amount of stamina. There is hardly any break for the pianist once the piece begins. It is an obvious observation but now that the work is really coming together I’m more aware of this fact than before. Time to get back practising! 

Franckly yours,

M x

Mistakes are immensely useful they show us where we are right now and what we need to do next
— William Westney, Westney, William., The Perfect Wrong Note (Amadeus Press, 2003)