For the past month, my 30 minutes a day consisted of long-tones to beef-up breathing and embouchure, then going straight to the recording device! Practicing these tunes with a metronome is just plain useless because it’s really hard to tell if I’m with the beat or not until I put the 2nd part on top of the 1st. With multitrack recording, I record the 1st part and play it (hear it) in my ear-buds while recording the 2nd part. My recording device has a metronome that I can hear in the ear buds while recording (the tac-tac-tac does not get recorded), but it still takes the 2 parts together to tell what part is going wrong and how. In fact, it took many, many, many sessions of listening to both parts through the speakers to really settle things down.
No friend, no cues…
I don’t know, but it is possible that recording myself playing with myself made things harder. I remember from my days of chamber music that my fellow players and I would look at each other a lot. We would feel each other’s breathing while giving and taking cues either explicitly or through body language. This allowed us to deviate from the beat quite a lot, but still manage to play in proper synchronization together. I don’t know if playing the Nino Rota duets with another living person of similar calibre would really make it easier or not… I hope I get to try sometime soon.
Czeslaw Kaczynski and Nino Rota : undervalued treasures!
As is likely the case for most Canadians and Americans – maybe even Europeans – my knowledge of Nino Rota was mostly limited to the movie music of the Godfather, Romeo and Juliet and so on. It was my piano teacher from the Conservatoire de Montréal, Czeslaw Kaczynski, who set me straight. Just before he left for a retirement in Rome, he blessed me with a private performance in his own home of Rota music for piano. That’s where I discovered that Nino Rota makes true “pure” music that needs no movies at all to touch the depths of artistry: there is now a You-Tube channel dedicated to the non-movie music of Rota.
Maestro Kaczynski is a Polish pianist who became director of the Conservatoire de Trois-Rivières and then took a semi-retirement, teaching piano 2nd instrument at Conservatoire de Montréal: I had the tremendous privilege to be his student. Strangely, he was not very well appreciated as a musician or as a teacher… this, I really cannot understand because I heard him play recitals of Chopin and Szymanowski with such soulful musicality and passion that NO OTHER RECORDING from any of the world masters has ever approached… many attendants of those recitals, regular patrons of the arts, agreed on that! One of these was among the first recitals played on the famous Bosendorfer piano of the Chapelle historique du bon Pasteur (Montréal).
I was blessed with many excellent music teachers, but Maestro Kaczynski was certainly the one who most strongly awakened the aesthetic artistry when playing music. I can go on for many blog posts telling of his genius as a teacher as well as a musician. I only hope his retirement in Rome paid proper tribute.