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)
7 months 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… Read more »

Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
7 months 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… Read more »

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
7 months ago

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

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

This is such an elegant piece. An excellent performance!

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
7 months 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)
7 months ago

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

Neil Awasthi
Neil Awasthi(@neil-awasthi)
7 months ago

Hi Annika, I enjoyed listening to your interpretation of this beautiful piece! I particularly like your use of staccatos before the main theme to create a sense of tension. Also, this is my favorite piano piece!

Julie Harris
Julie Harris(@julie-harris)
7 months ago

Hello again Annika – I’m studying all the presentations again to learn more about recording techniques. Your presentation is so nice – landscape mode and close enough to see your hands plus the beautiful room. Where/how did you place the recording device? Did you use a phone? If so, what kind? Is it set up on a tripod, or something else? Tell us all the tricks you learned about recording so that… Read more »

Myles Spencer
Myles Spencer(@myles-spencer)
6 months ago

Bravo Annika for such a stellar performance! I truly experienced the emotional story you were telling through your playing. From the soft blissful opening chords, to the blazing climatic cadenza section, I could feel and experience each note and the story they were telling. I also loved the way your hands glided and danced across the keys. You were very expressive in your playing and it came out in your music. Thank… Read more »

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