Chopin’s Ballade in G minor was my favorite piece to play. When I play a piece, I try to tell a story with it. The Ballade, split into many, incredibly contrasting sections, provided countless stories to tell. When I first became comfortable with playing the whole piece through by memory, my imagination went wild. One day, it would be a knight dying while saving a princess from her own family. The next day, it would simply be a butterfly with an injured wing in a garden. To me, the Ballade is more an emotional journey than a concrete story, which is what made it so fun to play.

The enjoyment I got from the Ballade only happened after months of practice. For me, learning the piece was a long and difficult process. I would listen to the piece and fall in love, then sit down to practice it and fall off the bench in frustration. Sometimes I would practice until my fingers hurt and still feel like I was making no progress. Some things I learned from it was how to move on from a particular exercise or section if I was not improving, and how to trust myself. Sometimes, concentrating hard on one aspect made it more difficult for me to play a section than if I had simply let it come naturally. For example, sometimes in technical sections, I would only focus on getting the right notes and simply moving my fingers fast enough, and it just would not click for me. Then, I would try to focus more on articulation and wrist flexibility. Everything else would fall into place more easily because I was not overthinking and instead trusted my abilities.

I hope you enjoy my performance of this brilliant piece because I sure enjoyed playing it!

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Julie Harris
Julie Harris(@julie-harris)
10 days ago

Hello Annika – What an impressive presentation! I love the “stained glass” in your picture, which seems a visual parallel of the musical gems that flow into one another in this Ballade. I laughed when you described “falling off the bench”, but could totally empathize with that degree of frustration. I’ve fallen off many a bench in my time, but gotten back on to try again. Your advice to other pianists seems rooted in experience. Beautiful choice of pieces for your favorite!

Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
9 days ago

Those opening notes are like the introduction to a movie, Annika, and as your performance progressed you had me imagining so many different scenes leading to a wonderful climactic ending. As a writer, I can relate to struggling at a certain point in the process and only by putting that part of my story aside and returning to it later does it all fall into place. A beautiful piece and so skillfully played.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
8 days ago

Wow! I am impressed. It was an awesome performance. I really enjoyed it, Annika. Good job. Well played. 

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Lola Mestas
Lola Mestas(@lola-mestas)
7 days ago

This is such an elegant piece. An excellent performance!

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
6 days ago

What a wonderful presentation, Annika. I was fascinated watching your hands during your performance, they moved across the keys with the grace of a dancer and appeared to be contributing to the story along with the music. Beautiful!

Yash Mehta
Yash Mehta(@yash-mehta)
2 days ago

You played the piece so elegantly and the dynamics mixed with the pedal blended so smoothly. Nice job!

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