The Difficult Choice

Bach and Handel

For long years I have been improvising and composing cocktail piano music. It was a choice that was not entirely voluntary, but caused by lacking piano technique for playing classical. But this has changed, and I have largely upgraded my pianistic abilities and am now in state to fully play classical.

But again I am confronting a difficult choice. Intuitively with all my force of inner conviction into Baroque, with an exclusive focus upon J.S. Bach and G.F. Handel, should I choose to play other music as well? In my younger years and partly under supervision by piano teachers, I have been playing pieces by Beethoven, Schumann, Grieg, Chopin and other romantic composers as well as Debussy (Arabesque) and Rachmaninov (Preludes, Études Tableaux), but to include all of this in my present repertoire would largely exceed my time-limit for practicing. I am not a full-time pianist and devote most of my time for writing and self-publishing, and the production of audiobooks. I am also into art and photography, with a constant output of new productions.

I spent almost all of last night listening to:
—Arthur Rubinstein playing Chopin
—Claudio Arrau playing Schumann
—Various pianists playing Ravel
—Pierre-Laurent Aimart playing Messiaen
—Svjatoslav Richer playing Prokofiev

I was then convinced I should include these composers in my choice, but this morning I think really the contrary. It would be foolish from a technical point of view to overcharge myself with variety, for the piano technique for those works is so entirely different than the technique required for Baroque.

And there is my emotional level … not to be neglected. I am presently practicing several Handel Suites, and the WTC, Little Keyboard Book, Inventions, French and English Suites and some of Goldberg by Bach, and this music really fills me with joy, on a daily basis.

I have had a time in my youth when I played lots of Chopin and must honestly admit the music put me often times in a state of depression. I have never felt, generally, that romantic music could induce in me and even slight approximation of the joy I experience when playing Baroque.

This was so extreme that for several years I have played it only using the Harpsichord sound in my Roland RD-700, not the piano sound. This has changed now, because I believe there is simply no better sound than Steinway D Concert Grand (which is fortunately available as a full sample in the Roland).

So I am back at the source, so to speak, and have to modify my post with my repertoire once again … and hopefully this time definitely.

I shall post here some samples of few recordings I made playing Baroque both on Harpsichord and Organ. I will have to publish them on Audiomack (audiomack.com) first, then will insert them here.