With two classes left to do in the Ballet Camp, I have been pondering how differently I am perceiving some of the people this year.
First, the overall feel of the camp is much more relaxed and positive though there is no lowering of the standards of quality necessary to ballet.
A couple of the instructors seem very different to me this year. Where before in past years they were tense and driven, now they are relaxed and friendly. I see a couple instructors actually smiling with their eyes as well as their lips (all ballet people can smile, just not necessarily also with their eyes). This is a pleasant change. It could be that I am simply seeing the same people differently. But I do suspect that it’s not all my subjectivity and usual over sensitive interpretation of events.
This ballet camp has not taken the toll on my energy and health that I feared it might. At the beginning of the summer I was feeling very drained from my schedule of combined church work and ballet accompaniment. The contractor for the ballet camp caught me in a weak moment just before my California vacation and I accepted the work despite misgivings.
I came home from California less stressed than last year.
I do enjoy coming up with improvisations that fit ballet exercises and also have some musical merit in my own eyes. So even though the camp gave me a lot of work, it didn’t turn out to be so much that I am back where I was at the beginning of the summer.
In addition to this, I am finding my church work more and more meaningful as I double down on improving and honing my organ skills. Each week I look forward to preparing and performing at least one piece for Sunday morning.
This week I have enjoyed learning and delving into a setting by Ennis Fruhauf called “Intermezzo on Sicilian Mariners.”
This piece strikes me as very well written.
WARNING! MUSIC ANALYSIS FOLLOWS! DANGER! DANGER! WILL ROBINSON!
When I think of “intermezzi” I think of Brahms. I’m not sure if that’s what Fruhauf had in mind, but I still see a ton of skill in this setting.
Note the four measures marked Andantino above that follow a gentle introduction (not entirely shown). I think these measures are elegantly written. They are deceptively simple. But with repeated rehearsing I begin to hear some lovely subtlety, especially regarding the articulation, and melodic unity.
Then note how he proceeds with the melody in long note values developing the Andantino rhythm and tempo.
This returns in the restatement of this section with a duple descant.
I remember the first time I played through the piece thinking that the materials at the beginning were good but didn’t warrant an entire repetition. Then when he added the little descant, I was charmed.
In between, in the middle section, he changes key and does some clever stuff with the meter.
He sets up a very regular set of afterbeats in the lower voice with miniature lush chords floating over it on beats one and three. Then as a piece de resistance he delays the melody one beat. This works very nicely.