1

Slow and humble practice makes perfect


When a great man or woman becomes old, what is left is just the
core: the inner magic, but what you or I have now (in a smaller
dose!) is still present just a bit... To tell us not to give up and to try
and do the same…! link on page 5
That is how life works out (for the fortunate!) – and it is all about
humility…
About the artist pictured above, Vlado Perlemuter, we read:
One remarkable thing about him is that he never grew stale, that
after half-a-century he still engaged in slow and humble practice
with the left hand of pieces that he had known all his life…
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And this reminds me of another pianist – and another very
interesting one too…

‘obviously my understanding of the music is deeper than when I was young…’
Fou T’Song.

3

In a house not so different from the one above, Fou T’Song, the
great Anglo-Chinese pianist lived – this was about thirty years ago.
Maybe he still lives there today… He had pianos on the second
and third floors, and everything was decorated in a beautiful
Chinese way. You could tell that from the outside, even. My
brother, a successful lawyer, was at this time living in a nice flat in
the adjacent building…
I was visiting my brother one heavy London summer evening,
and was about to press the bell. But my hand stopped still. From
the next house, and through the sash windows thrown wide open,
I could hear what I felt sure was Fou T’Song practising…
There was a bit of traffic noise, but I could hear clearly that Fou
was playing the last Schubert Sonata, first movement, and was just
getting to grips with the second development section in triplets:

link (Alicia de Larrocha)
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But, amazingly, he stumbled on something in this, rather like a
schoolboy slipping on a banana skin, but he simply just carried on
and at the next logical place, without interrupting the music in the
slightest, came back and played that same bit again! It was of
course, this time, perfect. He repeated the same procedure a few
times more, going back over the miscreant ground a bit like a
gardener with a power lawn-mower (something much seen in
green England!) – never stopping or considering – until it was
completely perfect…

Then, of course, just carried on to the next section…!
*
The best place to start looking at the dialogue in the Richard
Hannay film is probably the bit where the wonderful steam train
comes to a sudden halt on the beautiful bridge, when Richard
climbs out – and underneath the bridge – to escape capture…
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He’s being pursued, remember, by two enemies: the police and
the foreign criminals. link
Lord Harkness has been murdered and the police think Richard
is responsible for the death of Scudder, the man with the
notebook: in the novel in Richard’s flat (as we saw in Chapter
Three). Here’s a link to the transcript of that section…
We may look back to the intervening material when we consider
at who is on which side and what objectives they are trying to
achieve….
The following section moves Richard from a situation of extreme
danger to the relative security of a Scottish aristocratic family, who
invite him to stay….
Imagining ourselves in the positions of and acting out some of the
drama will be an excellent way of practicing our English in the
manner recommended by our master pianists mentioned above…

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