Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

Embarking on Beethoven’s opus 111 Sonata

Posted by Susan Tomes on 31 March 2017 under Concerts, Musings, Teaching  •  3 Comments

It’s been on my mind recently that I never properly learned Beethoven’s final piano sonata. I’ve been performing and lecturing about the two penultimate sonatas, opus 109 and 110, but when someone asked if I’d like to do opus 111 as well, I had to admit that it isn’t in my concert repertoire. Why not? […]

Seeking a female word for ‘virtuoso’

Posted by Susan Tomes on 12 March 2017 under Daily Life, Musings, Teaching  •  6 Comments

Yesterday we had a meeting of my piano club, a group of adult amateur pianists interested in developing their playing. The subject of ‘virtuosos’ and ‘virtuoso technique’ came up in relation to a piano piece with some fast, technically difficult ‘show-off’ passages. We wondered where the word ‘virtuoso’ comes from and what it really means? […]

How important is it to perform from memory?

Posted by Susan Tomes on 1 March 2017 under Concerts, Musings  •  1 Comment

I still have mixed feelings about playing from memory. I find that the memorising is the part of my concert preparation which takes the longest. Even after I’ve worked out exactly how I want to play something, there’s a long extra stage which is mostly concerned with memorisation. Memorising cannot be done quickly, or at […]

Ryan Gosling’s piano playing skills

Posted by Susan Tomes on 12 January 2017 under Daily Life, Musings, Teaching  •  4 Comments

I haven’t yet seen the movie ‘LaLa Land’ (it doesn’t open in the UK until tomorrow). But I enjoyed hearing BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ item this morning on how Ryan Gosling, who plays a struggling jazz musician in the film, learned to play the piano for it. He does all the piano playing in the […]

Christmas Oratorio

Posted by Susan Tomes on 21 December 2016 under Concerts, Musings  •  1 Comment

Last night I went with friends to a performance of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. Originally the six cantatas which comprise the ‘Christmas Oratorio’ were designed to be performed one at a time, in one or other of the two Leipzig churches with which Bach was associated, on the major feast days of the Christmas season (in […]