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All composers endure bad performances of their music. It’s always demoralizing and undermines self-confidence. Some solace can be taken in the knowledge that this experience is universal: it happens to all composers, the famous and the obscure, and at all points in their careers. This point was driven home to me recently when I discovered John Cage, in conversation with Morton Feldman, describing the impact of a bad performance of his Concerto for prepared piano.
Last month I decided that it was time to play something from that early 20th century modern period. I chose Bartók’s “Fourteen bagatelles”, but just couldn’t make great progress: different music requires different kinds of mental energy. So a week or two ago I put the Bartók down and picked up Schubert.