75 minutes on the Horowitz Steinway. The actual piano that Vladimir Horowitz owned and toured with. Not 30 minutes, like I was expecting. My insistence on being early pays off sometimes – there was no one there before me so I got to start 10 minutes early. Then – turns out no one had scheduled the spot after me. 75 minutes of playing that gorgeous piano. It’s pretty much impossible to make an ugly sound.
I started with the 1st movement of the Mozart K. 331 – the theme and variations in A major – one of the most sublime melodies he wrote. Then – straight to Chopin. A few waltzes, a few nocturnes, an etude, and then I spent about half the time working on a new-to-me nocturne.
Here’s where blogging keeps making my world more wonderful. In some email exchanges with another blogger (not a musician) I was alerted to the last few nocturnes as warranting extra attention. The last one (#19) is the familiar E minor – on the grade 10 syllabus – but the second last is a gem (op 62 no 2). I set out to learn it throughout the week and then practiced this nocturne on the same piano that Horowitz practiced on for almost 50 years.
A friend and colleague put it best : “Somehow, I don’t think the cashier at McDonald’s appreciates the magnitude of the moment here. I just handed her money with fingers that played on Horowitz’s Steinway.”
Arthur Rubenstein playing Chopin Nocturne Op. 62 No. 2