The 10 worst things about being an accompanist

16 November 2017, 14:55

Everyone thinks you're the support act, but we know: accompanists you truly are the unsung heroes of the classical music world. But here are the things that really get on your nerves…

1. When people say you’re ‘not a real pianist’

Oh, could you sight-read 27 different singers’ piano accompaniments on audition day? Whatevs.

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2. When your soloist asks you to transpose on the spot, because ‘they’re not really feeling in a B natural mood today’.

Sing. the damn. note.

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3. When they don’t give you the music until the day before

Oh sure! I can totally play that Brahms violin sonata straight up with no rehearsals.

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Not gonna happen, pal.

 

4. When people assume you’ll be male

THERE ARE LADY ACCOMPANISTS TOO (we just have to wear boring dresses so as not to upstage the sopranos).

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5. The piano part in the last movement of Shostakovich’s Cello Sonata

Just listen from 2:10 onwards – it’s totally a duet, not a solo and accompaniment. 

See also, Schubert’s Der Erlkönig. *shudder*

 

6. When your soloist gets ALL the claps and bows

Yes well done, you were very amazing at learning all those horrible hard French words, while I tried to sight-read six sharps at crotchet =180.

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s’not fair.

 

7. The soloist who brings a sellotaped, badly photocopied and faded piece of accompaniment garbage to their audition.

Oh, that squiggle in the corner? That means BRING A PROPER BOOK NEXT TIME.

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My oh my.

 

8. Also, the one who freaks out and goes WAY ahead of tempo on concert day

Slooooow down, tiger.

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9. When people think you fancy your soloist.

Just because you have to ‘follow’ them throughout the piece and applaud them at the end, this DOESN’T mean you want to go out with them.

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10. When your first CD comes out, your name comes out on the back of the disc like:

 small print mobile phone company

WHY WILL NOBODY NOTICE ME.

But despite all this, you secretly know you’re an equal partner on that stage. And you wouldn’t change it for the world.

Here’s soprano Mary Bevan, accompanied by the *awesome* Joseph Middleton: