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 strategies and reflections of any artist. They recount the demanding situations, rewards and joys of her reviews in her selected career.

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As a pianist who also writes, I find it interesting that the same rules for concentration do not apply to my writing. I can and do write anywhere, it seems. I can tune out conversations, activities, airport announcements, whatever, when internal monologues need to be recorded. If I am both performing and writing about the same piece of Page 31 music, invariably I have played it first. My relationships with works of music always go from physical attraction to deeper levels.

One musician-partner might revel in hearing young, talented performers despite occasional flaws in execution; her partner might be a perfectionist who angrily swears off live "flawed" concerts forever in favor of good-old historic recordings of acknowledged, dead greats. Any marriage can be vulnerable, but I might have foreseen that two musicians of such conflicting personalities would not be able to live in one house for more than twenty someodd years. <><><><><><><><><><><><> Genetic musical connections are a different story.

For me, the connections occur most frequently between my auditory and visual senses. I might simply be inspired by the beauty of a painting or landscape and, nourished by that beauty, feel motivated to make music. Or, more specifically, visual imagery will give me a handle on some music that might otherwise have evaded me. For example, in Chopin's B minor sonata, the E major triplet section of the third movement didn't "click" until I beheld a painting by an artist-friend, Stan Brodsky. His beautiful work depicted the water's edge and tidal flows, and the painting uncannily cast light on the music.

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