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By Carol Montparker

Those intensely own and perceptive essays discover the author's lifestyles as a pianist - training, appearing, instructing and writing - yet they can be the techniques and reflections of any artist. They recount the demanding situations, rewards and joys of her stories in her selected career.

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Extra resources for A Pianist's Landscape

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Every time I play the Sonata, Opus 79, in G major (a key that many musicians associate with a purifying and uplifting quality), I feel Beethoven's exultation in the natural world. He wrote the call of the cuckoo right into the score: the first movement becomes almost a fantasia around that call. It is full of the gladness of nature and the spirit of unabashed joy felt by the great master as he notated his musical ideas, all of which we can experience if we allow the music to wash over us. Several years ago I spent many happy hours at home preparing a solo lecture-recital on the subject of nature and music, which I have since presented several times.

Moreover, music, of all the arts, parallels the basic rhythms of life with its patterns of ebb and flow. It is so related to our systems that it has been proven to affect our blood pressure, metabolism, and pulse. Music makes us want to dance and makes our bodies try and match its tempo, while having a potent effect on our emotions. The reason is that music is closely related to the very thing from which it comes: music is an extension of nature. The inspiration that composers have drawn directly from nature has been well documented.

He did not ask me, nor did I volunteer, and I hasten to add that it had nothing to do with matters of competence. We have given many enjoyable joint recitals, and we might some day decide to do a CD together, but I have not chosen to play for him in the monumentally important events for the same sorts of reasons a surgeon might refuse to operate on members of his or her family. The tensions for performing artists are awesome enough without adding extra familial baggage. Yet the special way we have in ensemble transcends the nitty-gritties of interpretive decisions, and instincts and intuitions make the collaboration organic and integrated.

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