First performance class – Brahms Eb 1st movement with Hester

Overall, I was pretty pleased with how I played – a good thing was that I wasn’t too nervous when I started. Often nerves mean the start of my performance is rubbish then it slowly improves until I get rid of them- I wish I knew how to reliably control them! Hester commented afterwards that the start was lovely, as when I first played it with her she said I played it too slowly and it needed much more flow and momentum. A funny moment was when I announced the piece, saying ‘I’m going to play…’ and she whispered, ‘I hope you said “We’re going to play!”’

The main comments I had from Peter and the other masters students were:

  • It was a good performance but it was too self contained: it could have been more ‘open’ to the audience. I guess this means I was too self absorbed and not performing the piece to the audience enough. Does solving this mean exaggerating gestures, dynamics etc?
  • A greater contrast could have been made between the loud sections and the sotto voce sections, especially in the really huge bits
  • My vibrato needs to be more controlled as it accidentally emphasises unwanted notes (I am already aware of this and trying to work on it)
  • I made a comment about making more effort to phrase in Brahms’ ultra long lines, which some people agreed with and some said that they felt that I had achieved this
  • I felt I still need to have more dialogue and exchange with the piano, as it is after all a duo and not a solo with accompaniment. To do this, I will be looking more at the piano score so that I learn where I am in canon/duet with the piano and what it is playing throughout the movement.
  • Nice comments were made about my lovely tone and palette of colours – thank you!




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