I had a very busy day yesterday. I got up around 5:45. Despite my ongoing cold, I took a shower and washed my hair. Eileen and I jumped in the car and began our journey to Montcalm Michigan for the Solo and Ensemble Festival.
I was happy but a bit surprised to have Eileen along to keep me company. The roads between Holland and 131 were nasty. At first I tried to drive pretty fast but after seeing several cars in ditches, I slowed down. I decided it would be better to be late and be alive and apologize, then stuck in some ditch or worse.
I played for four students. The cellist played a Haydn cello concerto movement. He played very well. At our last rehearsal he seemed more interested in talking to friends on the cell phone than rehearsing.
The flute player played the first movement of the Poulenc flute sonata. As the judge pointed out, this is less a flute solo than a duet for flute and piano. We were just about to go into the judge’s room when the flute player discovered she had left the judge’s copy on her bedroom dresser. After a flurry of activity, we made a copy of the piano part (the judge must judge from an original copy not a photocopy and the flute player was playing from a photocopy but I was using the original).
The performance did not really reflect our ability to play together. The player was rattled. She had told me she tends to get nervous in performances but is okay in rehearsals. I was playing from newly made photocopies and managed to screw up pages a couple of times. The flutist actually plays this piece pretty well (it is a major work). But as she predicted she was terrified.
Her mom was also a bundle of anxiety. Hmmm.
Next I played for my last minute violist. That is, he called me on Thursday I think. He was playing a transcription of Bach’s first Sonata in G major for viola da gamba. The accompaniment is a running two part texture and was not exactly sight readable for this pianist.
This player is also a dancer. He and I discussed the way movement affects sound. He ended up playing the piece quite well and I didn’t shame myself too bad on it. I wish I had had more time to prepare.
The last player was a ninth grader who played a concerto movement by a composer named Rieder. Apparently this was a piece written especially for first and second position on the violin. In rehearsal this kid played the hell out of it. But he got a bit rattled in performance and jumped in on two major entrances. His whole family (Mom, Dad, three younger sisters) came to support him. That might have contributed to his being rattled. But hey he’s only in ninth grade for God’s sake.
Before I left, I heard that the first three players all received a superior (1) rating on their performance. That’s what seemed important to them and I guess that makes sense.
I was happy because three out of the four actually have paid me. (One of them is supposed to pay me at rehearsal tomorrow night.)
I came home and updated the church music web site. Then went over to church and worked all afternoon sorting music looking for some instrument parts for Lent. Also, practiced organ.
Came home exhausted and had two martinis and read my new copy of “The Making of Americans” by Stein.
This morning I found those instrumental parts on my computer. The file was mis-labeled S129 instead of S130. I bet they are at church as well in the S129 file.