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Ask Alice, with Alice McVeigh

Steven Isserlis on playing from memory,
with comments from Classical Music Agony Aunt ALICE McVEIGH

Ask Alice

The Business of Memory — by Steven Isserlis

I am occasionally asked about how to avoid memory lapses in concerts — a subject that is particularly pertinent to me as I embark on a series of Bach suite performances, for the first time in many years. I am thinking of using the music for at least some of the suites, just in order to remove a part of the stress that one inevitably feels when playing these great masterpieces — especially in this case, when I'm returning to them after so long. (It's a bit awkward with the suites, since one has to have a page-turner — since there must really be no break between the movements; but I'm hoping that having company on the stage will be quite comforting!)

But when one does play from memory, how can one avoid lapses?..

Copyright © 31 July 2015 Alice McVeigh, Kent UK

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