When I returned to the piano after a 25-year hiatus, I struggled with tempo rubato. I could not conceive how to inject my music with these mysterious elongations and compressions in the tempo.
For over a year, while studying Chopin’s Raindrop Prelude in my adult piano lessons, I often stumbled into an A-flat trap. In the expansion of the dreamy, opening melody, I launched off a bass A-flat into nowhere, flummoxed on which notes I should strike next.
Last week at a New York Piano Society audition, I learned first hand the value of having reentry points in my classical piano music.
So instructed Chopin to one of his favorite students, Emile von Gretsch, a member of high society who also happened to be a gifted and hardworking amateur pianist.