I’d been in London nearly two and a half years, and lived in the downstairs of a house in Palmers Green. Life remained a series of ups and downs – unexpected opportunities and new friendships alternating with periods of uncertainty.
When the Fritz Gottlieb Memorial Scholarship came to an end, Vera Yelverton and I parted company on good terms and the international concert pianist I’d met in East Finchley agreed to take me on next, free of charge.
Under her supervision, I studied Chopin studies, Bach’s Chromatic Fantasie and Fugue, Debussy’s Estampes, Mendelssohn’s Serieuses Variations op54, and the demanding Liszt Dante Sonata with its octave flying sections and sobbing G minor chords in the middle section.
Apart from the Fugue from the Chromatic Fantasy, I performed all the works from memory. My entire conception of piano playing changed and I finally learnt about the correct use of the wrists. Crucial.
I gave some fifty concerts over a two year period, culminating in another recital at St Lawrence Jewry, Central London. This time, I chose the most technically demanding and psychologically daunting programme to date – Bach’s 2nd Prelude and fugue from book 1, the Serieuses Variations by Mendelssohn and Liszt’s Dante Sonata.