I found the perfect solution to practicing the Schubert Fantasie in F minor without my duet partner, since she’s absent for 6 days of the week. While we rehearse on Thursdays, the piano bench literally shrinks putting us both at risk for hand collisions and body blows.
In truth, the pushes and shoves have more to do with the way the composer has scored his music, doubling notes between players, and sometimes having one partner cross over the other’s arm.
So when I’m alone at the bench mending my wounds on SECONDO, I do a lot of spot practicing, and scout a compatible You Tube recording of the Fantasie as a stand-in for Louise, my Primo. (When she’s propped up beside me using her two hands, she plays the upper part, notated with two treble clefs.)
PHOTO: LOUISE, below, in a contemplative pose:
Inconveniently, we both sit at my Steinway grand.
It’s not really a music minus one opportunity I’m seeking, but rather another experience to synch in my part and inch up tempo along the way.
Of course, in practicality, one must work side-by-side with a LIVE musical partner to “feel” the pulse of a true collaboration.
Therefore, trying to sniff out two overseas players who had their own breeding ground in the course of developing a personal ensemble, is a major challenge and accommodation.
Just the same, I drew upon Pires and Castro, pianists, to help me hone one of the most difficult sections of the Schubert Fantasie–the final fugue section that leads to a big fortissimo climax with a pile-up of voices.
While there were some synch issues, I still enjoyed playing along with these two fine musicians, though here and there, we were going our own separate ways.