Those early years
This is not the first time in recent years that my thoughts on
paper have turned to experiences as a young pianist at the primo
end of piano duets. My father, who awakened my interest in music
as an eleven-year-old, was a keen duettist with a good library
of such material and the ability to make arduous practice more
fun than fume.
Whilst my latter-day musical activities no longer include playing,
I can never forget the excitement aroused by subduing the more
challenging pieces and by sightreading new ones, which included
rounding corners to sudden hazards and the squeal of wrong notes.
Opinions differ but mine remain certain that such experiences are
of value both technically and musically. I was able to categorise
types of error, and thus was led more quickly to anticipation and
avoidance, at least for some mistakes.
All that apart as preliminaries of performance, my enjoyment of
music in continuity became more observant of detail, and then more
convincing to me as music in development, leading to acceptance of
a movement as an entity from structure. None of this form of
analysis in my early years ever struck me as dull theory. This was
music in the making, and as stimulating to me as baby animals
scrambling for a foothold after birth.
Copyright © 1 July 2003 Basil Ramsey,
Eastwood, Essex, UK