Archive: blog post 1 (2012)
To all visitors to this brand new and first-time website and blog: a warm welcome to all visitors! A few random thoughts to start me off:
I must be the last British pianist to create a website; even my friend and colleague of nearly forty years, Martin Roscoe, was dragged kicking and screaming by his friends into the modern world before I was. But as with everything one takes on board, it will almost certainly be progressively more involving and enjoyable.
Self-criticism and self-doubt are an essential part of being a performing artist; talking about oneself, and displaying oneself in as positive a light as possible – self-marketing – by definition comprises a conflict with those private thought processes. However, I know that I can leave those responsible for the maintenance of the main body of this website to look after that side of things, leaving me free to prattle about matters other than myself.
It is pure apprehension as to how to start it that has hitherto held me back from creating a website. That, plus the usual tendency that musicians – particularly pianists – have to put everything in life further down their list of priorities than practising. But I am computer-literate, and I type very quickly, so there is no excuse for not getting on with it. So then, this is the first page of what may turn out to be anything from a few lines every month or so to an extensive tirade (to some extent dependent upon the responses).
In this section I want to avoid listing what I am doing, and where I am, the displaying of as many great reviews as I am lucky enough to receive (and a complete absence of bad ones, of course). It would be all-too-easy to revel in my own performances and to report to you all about how well everything has gone and will be going. It is not my style to publish such things; cyberspace contains far too much of that already, and no one needs me to tell them what to think of my piano playing. In any case, as anyone who knows me will already realise, I wouldn't necessarily believe it, so there is no reason readers should; besides which it is all there in other parts of the website.
I would rather use the facility as an opportunity to discuss more general matters. These would be particularly subjects that are to some degree removed from one's professional life; not separate from the music world - that would lead to me writing about things about which I know nothing - but as adjuncts to it.
Of course, music and 'talking shop' will always figure large in the lives of professional musicians. I love many of the people I work with, and I usually love the places my performing career takes me to. There will always be occasional exceptions to both of these, but I cannot imagine a more rewarding and exciting and varied life than the one provided by musical performance of any sort, and it makes me feel incredibly lucky to have had the experiences I have had over a very long time. These feelings will inevitably often spill out into the blog text, but I hope it will remain in perspective.
The role of music in society and the music itself, plus the opportunity to present it to the people listening constitute the greatest love of all, despite the agony of self-criticism that is essential to a performer of integrity. It is a supremely wonderful art form, one which can inspire a child and then be with them for a lifetime, never becoming in any way routine, or
jaded. In several different ways, that is what has happened to me. The spiritual rewards are for me impossible to express in words, and the ups and downs of the professional world never cloud them.
Later, when updating, I would like to throw a few thoughts out there about something more general and relevant to others than my own career or personal life.
For example, it has gradually dawned on me across the several decades I have been involved in the music world, the degree to which the professional life of a performer of any sort, a writer, a painter or any kind of creative artist, is not only affected by politics, but to some degree determined and decided by it. I would like to explore that area presently, perhaps starting with the Cold War.
However, this is not the yet the time; this is just a prelude, and a welcome to anyone who wishes to read what I might write, and, in particular, to those who wish to respond.
Please enjoy what there is in this site, as yet in its embryonic state; it could turn out interesting in the long run.
P.S. My intention was to write a short introduction....