Tuesday, May 10, 2005

If I were a real pianist....

...I would be one of the ones who doesn't show up. I would cancel any concert for any excuse. I wouldn't want to do them.

So guess why I'm not a (real) pianist? That's why.

Tom and I have our first runthrough of our Entente Cordiale programme tonight. It's an enormous source of stress for me, but of absolutely no significance to anyone else because we're just playing to a bunch of terribly obliging neighbours in our front room! Nevertheless, it's had me practising all morning, then lying in bed with churning stomach all afternoon, eating far too much chocolate, breaking out in those patches of dry skin that I get on my face and hands when I'm stressed, and, worse, having to tell my editor at the Indy that actually no, I can't turn round the piece he wants me to do by the end of tomorrow. (He's nice. He's letting me do it next week instead. Thank heavens.)

Of course every musician undergoes stress over their concerts, but the proportion of reward to anguish has to be such that it's worth it. Even 40% stress and 60% reward would tip the balance in favour. What I undergo is 80% stress and 20% reward - and the latter only if things go well. If I make stupid mistakes, that proportion goes down. All I can say today is that it seemed a good idea at the time, when we planned it all last autumn, but now that the season is upon us, I would rather be doing ANYTHING but this. But until the end of 10 June, I am a prisoner to my piano.

"It is the three-legged monster that doth mock the meat it feeds on..." as Shakespeare might well have said.