Pianoforte

Helloo, helloooo! I do believe it is “Music Monday”! Sorry for the late post. I worked all weekend then had work this morning and forgot to proofread the post last night before I fell asleep  exhausted and had no time to publish before I left the house, etc, etc, and who cares anyway?! Let’s blog!

One of my biggest regrets in life is giving up the piano. I studied for many years in my youth and managed to do quite well even though, admittedly, I could have practiced more. Still, I enjoyed it a lot. My father was especially proud of me. So why did I quit? My beloved teacher, Bette Renzulli, moved away to Connecticut 😥 and I just couldn’t fathom studying with anyone else. Dad didn’t consider this a valid excuse and assured me he could easily find another piano teacher. He was, after all, a professional musician who knew a lot of people. But I was stubborn and resistant. If I couldn’t learn from Mrs. Renzulli then I refused to continue my practice. I loved her so much and was heartbroken that she was leaving. Although he appreciated my attachment to Mrs. Renzulli, my father was still very disappointed that I chose to quit.

Fortunately, some life regrets can be redeemed, and I’ve always hated that I let my father down. That’s why I have decided to return to the piano!!! Yaaaayyy!! What do you think? Good idea? But, um, I have to buy a piano first. That would help, right? 😆 As soon as I can find an upright in good condition and in my price range, I’m ready to relive my glory days. What’s weird is that I’m feeling both enthusiastic and apprehensive. I guess I’m just afraid that I’ll suck. It’s been sooo long since I played, and I have a daunting feeling that piano playing does not fall into the “riding a bike” category. You can’t just pick up where you left off, which means I foresee many hours of scales in my future!

Though I’m sure I will be terribly rusty, I’m hoping that I can ease right into the joy shown by the woman in this painting. She seems to be having a grand old time at the keys, really playing with gusto at her fabulously cluttered piano. This is Giovanni Boldini’s Woman at a Piano, 1871:

A neater, more serious and sedate pianist here in Vilhelm Hammershoi’s Interior With Woman at Piano, 1901:

In this 1916 Matisse work, The Piano Lesson, Matisse’s son Pierre is the young boy at the piano. A heavily abstracted scene, it is deceptively stark. The folks over at Smarthistory have an enjoyable and informative analysis of this painting. See it at this link.

Here is a piano work I once mastered, but only after much blood, sweat, and tears. It was tough. I remember struggling mightily with the left hand, but overcame my fumbling thanks to Mrs. Renzulli’s unflinching patience. The piece is Chopin’s Prelude in F Sharp minor, performed by Vladimir Ahskenazy. When I get my piano I’m determined to play this baby once again. I’m ready for you Frederic!

13 thoughts on “Pianoforte

  1. KL Foster says:

    There is nothing better for the mind than learning something new and there is nothing that fits the bill better than learning to play a musical instrument. I wonder if you will be posting a video? Iam a little disappointed that you passed up Whistlers, At The Piano. I guess we can’t have everything! Can’t wait to hear you play!?

    • artmodel says:

      KL,

      I almost posted the Whistler!!! I feel bad now 😥 And my mother is disappointed that I left out the Renoir of two girls playing piano. I’ve let everyone down! There are a lot of piano paintings and it was hard to choose.

      You are jumping ahead with me posting my piano playing on the blog. I have to get there first! But I’m not averse to the idea. When I’m in good enough form to play something listenable, I will record it. Don’t hold your breath though!

      Thanks for the comments.

      Claudia

  2. It’s never too late to return to the piano and you are still very young! The most important thing is that you practice every day. It doesn’t have to be for 3 hours — even if it’s just 30 minute a day you will reap the benefit very soon. I tell my students that it is analogous to working out at the gym. You need to build up your musical muscles. Your chops will be back before you know it and you will be able to focus on the artistic side of playing.

    • artmodel says:

      keith,

      Your comments were so helpful and positive. Really supportive. Thank you so much!
      I especially appreciate the “very young” part! 😆

      Claudia

  3. fred says:

    Wow, that Matisse is a real masterpiece, and the link about it you include is excellent.

    The Chopin Prelude in F# Minor is a pretty advanced piece for a pianist. If you could ever play that well, you must have done enough work that you’ll still have a good core within you for taking up the instrument again!

    Fred

    • artmodel says:

      Fred,

      I was impressed with Matisse too. And the analysis of it on Smarthistory is fascinating. The painting is more complex than it appears on the surface.

      I don’t know why or how, but I did have an affinity for Chopin when I played piano. I excelled more at his compositions than any others. But on the other hand, I struggled with other composers, like Beethoven, and that disappointed me because I am mad for Beethoven, as you know. His piano works, for me, were very challenging – complex in a much different way than Chopin’s. My dream is to play the “Appassionata”. Maybe in 20 years!

      Thanks for your encouragement!

      Claudia

  4. Jennifer says:

    Goodness – you certainly had reached an advanced level! Congrats on deciding to take it up again. I’m sure you will get back into it in no time, even if it takes a while to reach that level again, once you’ve tracked down a decent piano (and of course this once again references Fred’s post on ‘practice’!). Loved the piano paintings, especially the contrast between the top two (any piano in my house would sadly look like the first one…)

    Jennifer

    • artmodel says:

      Jennifer,

      Keep in mind that the mp3 track is Ashkenazy. My rendition did not sound like that! But it’s a beautiful piece nonetheless.

      I appreciate your confidence in me. I’ve accepted the fact that it will take a while to return to my old form, and that’s ok. And yes, finding the right (and affordable) piano is the first order of business. I purposely posted those first two paintings to show the contrast. I’m glad you noticed. Mine, too, will most likely resemble the first one!

      It was so great meeting you last week! 🙂

      Claudia

  5. Andrew says:

    What is in the dish on the table in Interior With Woman at Piano? It looks like about 5 pounds of butter. Maybe it is the artist’s subtle way of calling the pianist “butter fingers.”

  6. Stephen says:

    Music is such a wonderful gift – this is very exciting news – of course you must do this.

    thanks for the Chopin

    keep us posted on the piano

  7. Ken says:

    I hope you found a piano! If you could play Chopin’s Prelude in F Sharp minor, then you must have been quite good at the piano.

    Then it would only be fitting for you to include the piano in your future modeling bookings!

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