Think about it. I’m playing the piano and each hand needs to jump at full speed to opposite directions of the keyboard. Where am I supposed to look?
Left or right? Up at the score sheet? Shut my eyes and hope for the best?
One of the things I’m practicing at the moment is Chopin’s Posthumous Waltz in E Minor. I love that it is fast and passionate, with sweet moments but also loud, heavy and grave moments. I love that it sounds un-Viennese waltzish. It just sounds Polish and so Chopin.
I’m still working hard on some parts that are so difficult for me though. Here it is played by Evgeny Kissin, one of my piano idols. The parts between second 24 and 28, then again identically between second 48 and 52, are driving me nuts. Yes folks, these parts only last 5 seconds, and Kissin does is extremely fast and effortlessly that you probably don’t even realise his hands go in opposite directions, very far from each other, up and down, three times. Three times each time.
The first thing I’ve done to overcome this is learn the whole piece off by heart. That way I won’t need to look at the score sheet, so that there is one place less to look at.
Do I look at my right hand or my left hand then? My piano teacher says that in these situations he sort of leans back and makes a panoramic view so he can see everything. Ok, so he is way bigger than me and does this better than me. When I do this, I get a feeling that my arms don’t reach properly and loose control. In these moments I wish I were a fly, with fly eyes.
Now we’re working on making each hand, and finger, automatically land where it needs to land so that I don’t really need to look anywhere in particular. Wish me luck!
I still need to polish off the last part, but that’s just a matter of practice. Not so much a matter of wishing I were a fly.
I’ve always liked lemon curd. For unknown irrational reasons, I’ve always been afraid of making it. As if I thought it would surely turn out in disaster or something. Well now I can report that I’ve finally made it, and it was actually quite fast and easy.
I followed a recipe, for once, from my book Mes Confitures Maison. The recipe was in French and I didn’t even have to ask Mr. H. for help in following it!
6 large lemons, 100g butter, 250g sugar, 4 eggs
Squeeze the juice from the lemons. Put the lemon juice, butter and sugar in a saucepan on low heat. Stir with a wooden spoon.
Beat the eggs. Once all the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved, add the eggs slowly, little by little, while stirring with the wooden spoon continuously. Once all the egg has been added, continue stirring for a couple of minutes.
Put into sterilised jars. It makes about 2 jars worth. Store in the fridge for at least one night before eating.
I was quite worried upon making it that the lemon curd was so liquid. However the next morning when I took it out of the fridge, I saw that it had curded into a nice thick and creamy consistency, just how it should be.