I have to play a diagnostic for my DMA program during orientation week, in about 2 weeks. I’ve been slowly but surely plugging away at my rep, maybe a little slower and less surely than I should, but it’s been getting done. Then, last night, I had a dream.
I dreamed that I was playing my diagnostic pieces for Robert Levin (who will not actually be on my real-life diagnostic board). I was playing the first movement of the Appassionata (one of my actual pieces), and it was going shakily. I was getting the notes in, but my brain wasn’t quite ahead of my hands and sections weren’t transitioning. Eventually I had to stop because I couldn’t remember what key a section was in – I thought it was Ab, but I wasn’t sure. I apologized, and he told me to stop and breathe, and think, and retry with some musical intention – that should hold me together better. (Something Tsarov has drilled into me. I have no idea what Levin would have said.) I asked if he had any specific comments, and he said he wrote them in my score.
Then I woke up, and realized that there would be none of Levin’s comments in my score, which was more disappointing than the “performance” itself. And also that if I were to play my diagnostic today, there’s a 50% chance it would go something like the dream “masterclass.” Probably not as bad, but the potential was there if it were an off-day.
I don’t really have a punchline for this story, but it’s a good excuse to bring up one of my favorites: when I met Levin in real life. Last October I was in Boston taking lessons from various professors, and I had scheduled one with Ya-Fei Chuang. I was relatively nervous, so I found their house a few minutes early. When it was time, I walked up to the door and just as I reached for the doorbell, a bird shit on my head. And then Levin opened the door. True story.