Chopin Waltz in c# minor Op. 64 no.2, Cyprien Katsaris, Guiomar Novaes, iMac iMovie, Joyce Hatto, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Kirsten blog, Shirley Smith Kirsten, sound and video track problems, Steinway M grand piano, Vladimir Horowitz, word press,, Yeti microphone, you tube, you tube video

The woes of technology: No, I wasn’t finger synching someone else’s Chopin Waltz in C# minor (Videos)

I watched in disbelief as my 55th take of the C# minor Chopin Waltz Op. 64 went up in smoke. That is, it had been the most satisfying re-do, until I discovered that for 50% of the iMac iMovie, (commencing on p. 2) my hand motions and the music were out of synch. Add to this bizarre mix, (without having “mixed” anything in a recording studio) the music finally caught up with my fingers in the last few frames. A real heartbreaker! But such a quirky turn of events had at least proven that I did not fake the performance–or borrow the sound track from one of my Chopin interpreter favorites like Cyprien Katsaris, or Guiomar Novaes. (My playing was nowhere near the caliber of their readings so I shouldn’t stretch the truth) In any event it would have been a mighty task to study their poetry in motion and pull off a performance counterfeit.

The complete debacle was no doubt a stark reminder of the pianist Joyce Hatto who had acquired this unfortunate entry in Wikipedia:

“Joyce Hatto (5 September 1928 – 29 June 2006) was a British pianist and piano teacher. She became famous late in life, when unauthorized copies of commercial recordings made by other pianists were released under her name, earning her high praise from critics. The fraud did not come to light until a few months after her death.”

I was not going to land a similar footnote to my bio in life, or posthumously, just because of a wretched experience with iMovie. Shame on the Apple Support team for blowing off hundreds of fuming musicians whose hands, feet, guitar and drum tracks, you name it, were running amok in all directions!

Or maybe it was the Yeti mic that had spaced out on me. Who knows? I’d moved it back from the piano by a yard or two before recording. Big deal! That shouldn’t have thrown my body and soul out of kilter.

Enough said, except to emphasize, ex post facto, that I’ve posted the performance to You Tube out of sheer fatigue and frustration.

And of necessity I’m adding the obligatory disclaimers that 1) I’m in good health and have no motor movement problems 2) Yes, it’s actually me playing with all the perfectly intact imperfections in the reading, and 3) My noticeably out of tune “Haddy” Haddorff should be excused for its tonal shortcomings due to its 1951 vintage and failure to hold the last 3 closely spaced tunings. Cut it some slack in old age. It’s still a singing nightingale and was the best fit for the composer. My Steinway M grand would not do, because of its tightly packed hammers, and sadly there wasn’t a trace of a concert technician in agriculture’s heartland. Most can milk cows but not voice pianos.

The question remains, “When will this iMac related blight next strike?” It’s probably a dice throw, or a dung shoot. Such pangs of misfortune, no less, having been visited upon underlings such as myself, can boast the good company of Vladimir Horowitz whose hands started a measure ahead of the music in this performance of the Schubert Gb Impromptu, Op. 90.

So what’s not to like? You can close your eyes and forget the problem. (Oops, I think I heard a fire engine somewhere on the track, Oy Gevalt!)

Correction: One of the you tube commentators clarified what I thought was a visit from the friendly fire department:

“I believe what you heard was the sound of a church bell tolling outside, possibly from the nearby Karlskirche. It is a tad distracting, but it is also a strangely poetic coincidence, given the deeply emotional music and the fact that this was one of Horowitz’s last public performances.”


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