This Masterclass was recorded by the BBC at Bream’s house for their Masterclass Series in 1978. Unfortunately all I have is a video recording direct from the TV. Hence the low quality image!

I believe there were 6 students playing in the recording, and we were informed by the producer that there would be no break in filming between each player – so no chance to warm up!! I was freaking out, as I couldn’t imagine sitting still for a couple of hours then getting up stone cold and playing any piece well, let alone something as technically difficult as Sevilla! Wow was I lucky, as the person before me had to catch a plane, so filming stopped while he left and it was decided that would be a perfect time for a cigarette break!  So I managed to get a 10 min warm up after all. 🙂

I think my biggest learning curve from this lesson was actually when I was able to watch the recording on television. I had never heard myself play before, and one thing I have noticed consistently through the years is how different a piece sounds to your ears as you play it, to how it is received by the listener. What I mean by this is that the intention you have as you play a phrase (and what you hear as you play) is often not how it actually comes across. The depth of feeling I had for Sevilla did not come across – it was definitely too agressive – yet it didn’t sound that way to me at the time. It was much easier to take in Julian’s comments when I could sit back and listen to myself objectively.

So my advice would be to always record yourself and listen to how you actually sound, and not how you think you sound! Then you can adjust your performance to have the effect you intend!