4 Apr 2013


The natural result of becoming an organist is that I have to attend the church regularly. Over the Easter holidays, I had to go there three times. This has never happened since my graduation. But as Rick Warren mentioned in The Purpose Driven Life, to love the Lord your God with all your strength means it takes effort and energy. You cannot just ask for the convenient way.

Many people think that pianists should automatically be able to play organs. This is not true. For example, you cannot control the loudness by how hard you hit the keys. This creates some difficulty for me who love to exert subtle control within a phrase. For that matter, it also means that I cannot bring out the right or left hand melodies at ease.

The other problem is I cannot sustain a note using the pedal. Handled improperly, a song can be full of unnatural hiccups. When I first played organ, I practised with the fugues by J.S. Bach. Soon, I found it unhelpful. Fugues are supposed to be played without pedal anyway. Therefore, I turned to the sonatas by Mozart. In fact, Mozart’s earlier works were written before the invention of pedals. In a letter from Mozart to his father, he vividly described the wonder of pedals. In any case, I can now play all his sonatas reasonably well without pedal. Through the process, I also discovered many lines that I was blinded to before.

P.S. Mozart has actually written a number of unfinished fugues. This was because his wife was very fond of Bach’s fugues and made him write a few for her entertainment. Mozart tried but was dissatisfied with the unfamiliar patterns.

P.P.S. We met our classmates recently. They talked about MY, who unfortunately suffered from a serious complication. When we were at our final year of study, MY once tried to play Chopin’s nocturne but found it too difficult. I offered to play the left hand part for her. That was probably the best nocturne performance in my life. May she recover well.

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