Alban's Blog

Free Time – with Reger and Sports…

Oh, this is so sad, my concert-free time between the Shostakovich No.2 in Halle on Feb 22 and the rehearsals in Amsterdam for Sinfonia Concertante which start on March 9 is almost over.And while I have been a lazy blog writer, I wasn’t lazy at all being “free”, since I have to prepare for the second part of the Reger project; this is going to be a double cd, of which the first part with the two late piano-cello sonatas and the d-minor solosuite has been recorded already last year, and now the two remaining solo suites and the two early piano-cello sonatas are waiting for us, five days before my concerts with Berlin Phil – the perfect preparation for a nerv-racking happening.

Why? Well, while I find it extremely difficult to play in Berlin with my entire family, friends and colleagues listening, I am getting rather paranoid about recordings. For me this is the biggest stress, especially when I have to record rare repertoire.
This is the reason why I was sitting during these “free” days in my basement in order to learn and eventually memorize these stubborn Sonatas, since otherwise I can’t make any sense of them. Today I put the very beautiful op.5 in my head, and suddenly the piece is starting to take some shape, at least in my brain. We won’t have the opportunity to perform these pieces in concert (except a little dress rehearsal the night before in the recording venue in front of friends and family of the pianist Markus Becker), so it is even more important to be technically and musically more prepared than ever.

So easily one gets wound up trying to just be perfect in a recording session, instead of trying to instill some life into this dead, cold medium. And if I don’t feel completely on top of the score and the purpose of the piece, I might as well not put myself in that situation.

Anyway, this is what I did in the mornings, and in the afternoon I tried to fulfill my role as father, went to go-carting with my son János, practised the piano (arghhhhh) with him and this is the best: with an 8-year-old one can indeed have some rather deep conversations. It sounds so lame and old news, but children do have a better insight in many things, and it is wonderful to talk to him even about career problems and decisions, because he understands.

Now I am sitting in bed, following the Championsleague scores; Porto seems to be beating the FC Chelsea, which would be quite an upset. Poor Michael Ballack, left Bayern Munich to join a contender, and if they get kicked out, he has only his money to count…

I never wrote that before? I love sports, follow it online and most recently live (János and me went already 5 times this season to see our soccer team Hertha; this Saturday we were part of the 74200 people in the stadium when they lost against Bayern Munich), and since last summer I am learning how to play tennis.

Had my tennis lesson with Cesar this morning, and he is sooooo strict, constantly making fun of the way I am running towards the ball – and it is so much fun, I can’t tell you how much I love it. Phone rang, friend of mine wants to meet for drinks – Good night 🙂


  • George

    Alban….I can relate to your comments about performing in front of Family and friends….The dynamics between family members and friends..get in the way of what we normally do in performance..which is focus on the music..I would much rather perform anywhere else!…Their good intentions of wanting only the best for you when you perform and knowing this…sets up a weird emotional loop..that I find distracting…Children do have an interesting ability to cut through the crap..sometimes…I think it’s great that you have a close relationship with your son…and that you are present for him in spite of your musical stature…Remaining close to Janos will pay huge dividends for you and for him as he gets older…young guys need their dad these days to navigate the world…it is a complicated place…I wish you luck as you get back to work for what sounds like a “busy” time..All the best from California!!


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