New Haven, CT—A creeping dread has started to form in the pit of a young pianist’s stomach after audition panel members have given him the green light to carry on into the recapitulation.
Approximately four-and-a-half minutes into his live audition for the master’s program at Yale University, 21-year-old James Redden reportedly began experiencing acute feelings of anxiety and foreboding as he reached the end of the dramatic development section of the first movement of Beethoven’s “Waldstein” Sonata. Members of the Yale Piano Faculty watched in silence as Redden, with mounting trepidation, reached the repeating C Major chords from the movement’s opening passage that mark the start of the recapitulation.
Redden, who hasn’t practiced the recap since January, opted to begin his audition with the “Waldstein” thinking that the panel would cut him off before the end of the development. Given that auditions last around fifteen minutes, whereas he was offering an upwards of 90 minutes of repertoire, Redden confidently assumed the panel would prefer not to waste time listening to a passage consisting mostly of recycled material from the exposition.
It was far more likely, Redden reasoned, that such distinguished piano professors would have the good sense to request to hear some of the sonata’s third movement, if not proceed to navigate their way through the rest of his ambitious program: skipping him directly to Schumann’s Carnaval, maybe hearing part of the Toccata from Bach’s E Minor Partita, before finishing with Chopin’s “Octave” Etude.
Instead, as he makes his way further into the recapitulation, Redden has yet to receive a signal from the audition panel to stop playing. Sweat has begun to form under Redden’s palms, with beads of moisture trickling down to his fingertips and coating the surface of the keys, as the graduating senior from the University of Michigan carries forth with great apprehension and insecurity toward the uncharted second theme of the recap.
According to eyewitness reports coming from the scene of the ongoing incident, Redden is aware that the current passage modulates from A Major back to the tonic key of C Major, but he doesn’t quite remember when or how it does so.
At press time, Redden—already overwhelmed with panic and frustration—has reportedly developed a new fear that the audition panel might ask to hear his twentieth century piece, Prokofiev’s Third Sonata, which he hasn’t even touched in a week.