The problem with slow and easy
Yesterday one of my organ students at National M.K. Čiurlionis school of art, Eglė participated in the Festival of Ciurlionis piano and organ music where she played the Fugue in C# minor. This was a good overall performance but I want to point out a particularly peculiar episode that happened during her performance. I'm sure many of my readers will know what I'm talking about because this experience concerns us all (myself included).
This is a piece which starts with a subject performed with a soft Flute 8' registration in a slow tempo (here is a video of it I played at Vilnius University Saint John's church). As the fugue unfolds, the two hands start to play with Flutes 8' and 4' on a different manual. Gradually the tempo, tension, and dynamic level begins to increase but at Flute 8' and 4' episode the music is still gentle and slow enough.
So even though it was technically quite an easy spot, Eglė's fingers slipped in a couple of places. This probably wasn't noticeable to the listeners out in the room but since I assisted her with page turns and stop changes, I knew something was going on with her mentally.
Something that happens to us when we know that it's easy, when we know that the finish line is near, when we know that the battle is almost over.
And then we slip. And then we play the wrong notes. And then we lose focus. And then we panic. And then we blame ourselves.
Luckily Eglė is an experienced enough to know better. Those couple of slips didn't throw her off balance not a bit. She finished strong as if nothing happened.
In the words of the legendary American organist Marilyn Mason, "your recital is not over, until you are in the parking lot".
The trick is to keep focusing on the current measure you are playing no matter what.
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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