Last night, a very strange thing happened: I got to hear one of my pieces performed. Live.
Maila Springfield, that goddess of the piano, asked me to write her something that she could play when performing with her estimable husband David and another friend. She was their accompanist, and she wanted something cool for herself. That was in 2009/10, and so when I took the summer of 2010 off, that became my project.
The result was Six preludes (no fugues), and I think I did an admirable job, if I do say so myself.
Maila premiered them in the fall of 2011, but I didn’t get to hear them because of something something argle bargle. Last summer, after the Music Faculty Recital, she confessed to me that she thought about asking to perform them but didn’t think I’d like it. Conflict of interest, etc. I set her mind at ease: any time you want to play them out loud with me in the audience is fine with me.
And so this year she did.
Wow. She launched into #1 with a ferocity that took my breath away (and I think a lot of the audience’s). #2 was gorgeous. #3 was once again everyone’s favorite. #4 was quiet, sustained, simple. #5 was massive, and the ending rocked me back in my seat. #6 wended its way through each variation, and the ending was boffo. The crowd went wild.
She did lose her way in #1, a ferocious little two-part invention that careens down the keyboard like some X-treme snowboarder in an 11-measure passage before sticking the dismount at the bottom, and then jumping back to the top and doing it again. She said, “I don’t know what happened; I looked up and suddenly didn’t know where I was. I shouldn’t have looked up!” She’s wonderful.
It has inspired me to wish I were actually working on Five Easier Pieces for her.