Monthly Archives: 9月 2011

Vladimir & Vovka ASHKENAZY

Vladimir & Vovka ASHKENAZY
piano duo, Kanazawa, Japan 2011

Francis Poulenc
Sonata for two pianos

Sergei Rachmaninov
Suite No.1, Fantaisie-tableaux for two pianos, Op. 5

Modest Mussorgsky
Arranged for two pianos by Vovka Ashkenazy
Night on the Bald Mountain

Maurice Ravel
Ma mere l’oye
La valse

cf. 演奏会レビュー by オーケストラ・アンサンブル金沢を応援するページ

My stiff muscles and the reason why I am attracted to Rachmaninoff

I checked the other day the condition of my muscles around abdomen and legs with our family physiotherapist. I regularly ask her these days to help me to adjust my muscles because I like to be more aware of my body. The last time I worked with her she told me that my right leg was particularly hard almost like a stick. It means, according to her, that my right leg works hard to support my body. My right leg remains to be hard until my left leg becomes more involved in my activities. The more my left leg becomes active, the less the burden on my right leg will be imposed. I thus worked on my left leg, which I found was also hard although it was not so badly hard compared with my right leg.

I asked her why my muscles in my legs were so hard. Her answer was rather surprising. She told me that the muscles became hard as they contained water. That is, my muscles contain excessive amount of water beyond the ideal level. It was amazing to see that she could judge the condition of my muscles so well just by touching on them. Very well experienced masseuse is she. Her answer to my next question however surprised me more. I asked her why my legs contained so much water. She replied to me that my muscles needed oxygen. They absorbed oxygen from the water contained in my muscles. Why did they have to take oxygen from the water? Well, it was because I inhaled less air than required.

I should inhale more air so that my poor muscles take oxygen from blood. Her explanation reminded me of what my master used to tell me, say, thirty years ago, when I was a student. He noticed that I stopped breathing when I ponder on something and advised me to continue breathing no matter how deeply I drove into my thoughts. I am not sure how sincerely I followed his advice. I was not, probably, because I was again led to face the reality, i.e., my stiff legs.

I am not completely aware of my habit. It seems that I am always alert. I do not think I am so tensed, sincerely speaking, but it is certainly true that I am often irritated by others who are to my eyes careless to their surroundings. Unthoughtful behaviors get on my nerves. My wife often complains that I am nagging. She may be right. I am tired from paying attentions to others, their wishes. I have to learn to let things go as they do. I should not think that I can do something to take things to better direction.

I have to be alone to be relaxed. It would be easier for me to relax myself if I play the piano. I remembered how I was when I was a high-school student. Only when I played the piano could I breathed naturally. I was at comfort while I was delving into the music, experiencing the flows or movements together with the composer. I believe that I found a reason why I like Rachmaninoff. You have to breath in deep when you play his music. The melody lines tend to last for long, which leads you to breathing deeply and slowly. Rachmaninoff somehow enables me to inhale air appropriately. I do not think that just playing his music for several hours would solve my problem of stiff muscles, but it must have helped me to some extent to relieve the tension I felt in my muscles. Otherwise, I would not continue playing his music for several hours a day, everyday.

I realized this while I was playing his first piano sonata. The piece requires half an hour or more to play once as it is so magnificent. It is hard for me to find a time to play it through from the first to the third movement everyday. I am contended with playing it partly, say, just the first movement or the third movement. I had time to play both the first and the third today and realized I was relieved of a negative feeling through playing the sonata.

Anyway I have to learn to relax my back because the tension there reflects my condition of being tensed. My legs are stiff as the result of supporting my tensed back. I have to develop my muscles in front, around abdomen, instead so that the tension at my back is counter-balanced. I have to pay more attention to my abdomen, but the lesson is that I need to learn to let things go, loosing my grips on everything. I will see how the different mind setting would change my postulate and would relax my muscles in legs. I do not forget to play a Rachmaninoff once a day.