Reflections on solo recital 11 October

A couple of thoughts about my solo recital a couple of weeks ago at St. Nicholas's Church (11 October). What I was most pleased about was that the Schoenberg op. 19 Klavierstücke seem to have come across well despite some slight memory lapses - I had some very appreciative feedback. And also that the Chopin A flat Ballade felt very secure, meaning that I was able to relax into it, take a few risks and build a good intensity at the end I think. The technically challenging passages that I'd spent a lot of time on seemed to come off really well! It's thanks to a lot of help from my teacher Yuri and a lot of time spent thinking about and working at technique that these kinds of challenges now seem essentially soluble to me - it's just a question of working out different ways to practise them and then putting some time in. Looking forward to the next solo challenges! I've got a few ideas about different things to work on, including some Schubert, Brahms and Debussy.

In the more immediate future I've got some interesting concerts coming up with two excellent locally based singers and teachers: Yvonne Patrick and Lucy Mair. There are details now on the events page:

Concert preparations

Really enjoying practising for my recital next Sunday - Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin (plus maybe some Debussy). It strikes me that one of the advantages about never having trained full time as a musician is that I don't have a sense of having had to compromise from student days when I might have been practising many more hours a day, getting constant input and stimulation, and at my peak as a player. (Though I know many musicians that did go to music college who have managed this transition with considerable grace - and perhaps even have improved as musicians outside the immersion of full time music study.) I practise more now than I ever have (this doesn't amount to more than 2-3 hours a day) and with the aid of some great teaching I know that I'm playing at a better level now than ever before, and that I've improved consistently in the past few years, technically and musically. The challenge is to find the most efficient and effective ways of using that 2-3 hours per day rather than tiring myself out with repetitive practise that builds up tension and doesn't really progress things, and I'm constantly working at developing how to practise for best results...

Anyway, hope some of you can come along next Sunday! Full details on the events page. There'll be tea afterwards and I've also been promised some home-made cake contributions!

Beethoven Review


I've had some lovely comments about this recording. I don't think I'm generally one to 'blow my own trumpet', but I was delighted with the following review of the Beethoven Bagatelles at Sussex Musicians' Club  from Dr. Simon Jenner, so thought I might share it. :) Belatedly, a big thank you to Yuri Paterson-Olenich for inspirational teaching, on these pieces and in general!

"Pianist Joe Ward’s rendering of Beethoven’s last set of Bagatelles Op 126 – more unpredictably jagged than even previous sets - was simply the finest Beethoven playing ever seen here. Ward’s hammering precision nailed the last, two prestos enclosing an andante cantabile, wayward, full of tigerish leaps to fracture the left hand. It’s no disrespect to Ward to say he’s upped his game in every performance, but nothing prepared us for this which would grace any concert hall."

Beethoven Bagatelles

Here's a recording of me playing Beethoven's op. 126 Bagatelles live at Brighton Unitarian Church for the Sussex Musicians' Club. The recording makes the well respected but aging Bluthner there sound oddly like a fortepiano, but overall I was very pleased with how this went, a couple of slips aside. It's a great set of pieces and I've really enjoyed working on them.