Tuesday, September 13, 2022 - A keynote lecture
It is rare to give a recital in the evening and immediately be asked to follow up with a keynote lecture the next morning. The sounds are still relatively fresh in one’s ears. And I’m grateful for every minute of it. Relieved too that I managed to stay within the one hour allotted to me. (I suffer from the same problem as Steibelt: when giving lectures, I easily prepare too much.)
The rest of the day was spent interacting with colleagues and catching some of the talks, while the piano took a backseat. Still, I wanted to put in some practicing (we’d rolled the piano back into the teaching studio for the afternoon). During the concert I had screwed up a passage in the last movement of “Waldstein,” making me curse the technical changes we’d made before departure. In truth, I was cursing myself. I needed to properly respond again to the bouncy keys. The passage is one where my left hand plays sixteenth-note triplet patterns. With the thicker key dip I want to take my time to feel each three-note pattern by itself—something I was able to do when the piano was new, and remember enjoying. But adjustment takes time. Old instincts don’t just resume, and certainly not in front of an audience. I reassure myself with the thought that I’ll get another chance in Budapest.
Time to pack up, again. I feel fortunate Martin was in town and that he agreed to help. He made some excellent suggestions on how to better load the van. Sliding the piano in on its sled and strapping it against the wall (on the left, tail end first) is easy enough (especially with the customized wooden supports Gregoir Basyn from Pianos Maene designed for me), but it’s all the ancillary stuff (the legs, those delicate pedals, my toolkit, a piano bench—why did I even bring one?—and many more personal items, including a folding bike I thought I’d need) that needs clever stacking and strapping. Also, Martin and I inaugurated the dolly I’d just bought from him (so I now have two on this trip): it has air-filled wheels, perfect for the cobblestones we have to deal with in downtown Ghent.
Mostly, however, as we took apart the pedal board, Martin checked and tightened all screws that need to be tight and lubricated those that must be free. I feel good: one big concern may well have disappeared—at least for the remainder of the tour.