I recognize that concerto!

Melody and I were in the car the other day and I instantly recognized that the radio was playing Mozart's Concerto #19 in F, which I had played when I was in high school. I have lots of memories with that piece.

I only really learned the first and third movements of the concerto, but the third movement is the one I remember most. The only time I performed it in front of an audience was at a benefit concert I held as part of my Eagle Scout project. My first piano teacher Jacki played the second piano, as well as for another student of Mr. Voorhies. In addition, a couple other students played a movement from a Mozart concerto for two pianos.

Anyway, the third movement has a section where the soloist plays triplets against the orchestra's quads. While it's possible to keep track between the two pianos, I have to confess I just made sure my rhythm was steady and hoped for the best (there are a lot of notes to try to hear the other piano, too). Things came out fine - whew!

More about the pianos. At that time we had a Chickering baby grand made of rosewood, which would be about a hundred years old by now. A piano store generously loaned a Yamaha C7 for the main piano (the same kind I now have) and the two were taken to a local church where the concert was to be held. Unfortunately, the Chickering was old enough that instead of the now-standard 440Hz for middle A, it was built for 435Hz. My amazing tuner (the one who would leave his wife out in the car for a tuning) brought the Chickering up to 440Hz, tuned the pianos, then got them to match, all in about an hour. After the Chickering was back home, it was brought back down to 435Hz to reduce stress on the soundboard.

The other memory of that third movement was when I entered a competition with it. We had another person on the second piano, who was also very good at making it easy for the soloist. Good thing, too. I was so nervous, and unfortunately for me that particular movement has the piano start by itself. I was quite a ways into the piece before it dawned on me that I was playing faster than usual. Way faster. As in rather than the recommended half note = 80 bpm, I was closer to 100. My accompanist took it (at least seemingly) in stride, and we kept it up until the end.

Program with Hisa accompanying on piano

Program with Hisa accompanying on piano

Being an accompanist is quite difficult. You have to accommodate the soloist, but at the same time help keep things going, all while paying attention to what you're playing. My grandmother used to accompany various soloists, and from what I understand she was quite good. One of the programs is at the right (click to enlarge). The only time I've accompanied a soloist was a short piece I wrote when I was in high school for flute and piano. It was performed as an encore for one of my recitals, and I remember starting at the tempo I intended but the flutist joined in a little slower. Fortunately I was able to adjust and I thought the performance went very well.