Once upon a time, in what almost seems like another life, I played the piano. I don’t mean Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. The type of playing I did involved practicing for many hours a day. I was even a keyboard minor in college (piano, organ and actual keyboard). Then life took a different path, and now I play a different kind of keyboard as I provide tech support for websites.
Sometimes I feel nostalgic and long for the non-verbal expressions I could emote through the ivories. I’m so out of practice, jibberish results now when I try. The only proof I had that I ever played all-right was a cassette tape created when I was around 18 years old. Yes, I said cassette — does that date me or what? Haha.
CJ (my son) digitized it with decent equipment years ago. Then I lost the file 🙁 Now, realizing that even owning a tape player is getting scarce, I figured I had better record it while I can.
So here is my horrible recording of a practice tape being played through an old tape player and recorded using the video camera on my four-year-old iPhone SE. (Can you tell I’m not a sound/tech expert?)
Warning, there’s no image once it starts playing. Just a lovely view of the cover of my phone. I just had it recording for the sound.
Brahms Rhapsody Opus 79 No. 2
Ironically I hated the recording for many years because I perceived it as so inept (it was a practice tape after all, and nowhere near my end product on it). The recording and actual playing certainly aren’t high quality, but how I wish could now play the mediocrity of then.
So symbolic of life in general, am I right?
I used to record my practice sessions then listen to them over and over while away from the keyboard to mentally assess weak areas then go back and fix them.
I think I was banging too much at the beginning, and if I could play that again, I would relax the wrist a bit more. And it was recorded before I nuanced the sound — I was at the stage of practice where I was just figuring out the notes and phrasing.
Anyway. I keep losing my files of my recordings so I figured I would throw it on my website for posterity. It brings back happy memories for me, and I really love the song.
If you want to hear it played properly, check out:
11 responses to “Piano Memories”
Wow that’s amazing!!! What a gift!
Thanks. Memories are fun, no? And such an amazing song. Brahms gets my vote every time.
I couldn’t hear your tape on my phone. I must try again tomorrow with the computer. I’ve been playing several Brahms pieces the last few weeks, so I’m very eager to hear your practice session.
Oooh, I hope I get a mini recital in November. Can I request that?
I’ll be glad to play a few bars for you, but I don’t play to concert standards. Never did, actually. I like to sight read, even if it sounds painful to myself.
Good morning and thank you very much for this super-tender posting. yes, written pages in a web article like this one can shake us emotionally. Guess what, i liked your version much , much more than the other one. Why? Because it has been affectionately tainted with your nostalgia, which is already a little bit ours, your readers, too.How about going back to the real piano?
Un baccione. Arrivederci.
Aww, that is so sweet. Thanks for the kind words. I’ve been playing on the keyboard a bit more, but it’s not quite the same.
Must find a photo or two of Mary Agnes’s Steinway family piano from the late 1800s. It was in the family home in Freeland, PA for 90 years. In the early 70s, the cousin who’s house it was in asked who wanted it. “WE DO,” we said.What a Redneck move that was in a P/U from PA to CT. After my retirement it moved to MD Eastern Shore and graced the Music Room in our B&B for 10 years. Three weddings and many gatherings later it went to daughter Kathryn when we left the B&B business and downsized to a smaller home. When Kathryn moved recently it was returned to Steinway for a makeover, OMG, what a piece of furniture. Should you and yours ever come this way we would love to have your fingers grace it’s keys. OOH Rah on your Brahms piece.
That is all amazingly wonderful. I’d love to see it. And if I travel that way, would love to stroke the keys. What an incredible gift you have there.
Wow, I’m so impressed that you could play that difficult piece, never mind all the little things you say should have been better. I’ll bet Tamar also criticized HER playing too.
BTW I played clarinet for 4 years of high school, was so bad but managed to eke out a 70% in the final exam – and all I can emit now is a SQUAWK! 😀 (I tried on someone else’s instrument.)