I have been in a Chopin mood for several days. Playing through the B minor sonata and some Mazurkas
Right now I have Pandora set to Chopin. It’s kind of a pain because I have to keep “thumbs-downing” other composers.
Yesterday church left me drained and exhausted.
Not sure exactly why. I know it has something to do with the introvert in me and the fact that when I do music I try to give it my entire mind, body and soul.
The choir sang well.
The scheduled anthem was a Eugene Butler composition that was competently written but is not that fascinating a piece. It has an interesting ascending melody of consecutive fourths which he uses in a couple of interesting canons. Due to the new regime of all rehearsing and performing taking place on Sunday mornings, I have had to reduce the reach of what I try for with this group. Attendance has not necessarily improved much since going to Sunday morning “one-stop-shopping.” But I feel like most of the choir members find it worth not having to come out once a week for a rehearsal. Less rehearsal, inevitably less scope.
Also I find that the sound of a choir relates directly to how much attention the director (me) gives to vocal technique and choral techniques. I have been attempting to integrate some of the excellent ideas I learned from James Jordan at his workshop. But one cannot spend too much time on them when one is always rushed. Many directors omit this sort of thing (relaxation, breathing, warming up, vowel purity) but I think that it is the difference between a church choir that sounds pretty good and one that is more typically painful to listen to.
I played the little Hindemith prelude pretty well. It was a bit of a challenge to use the crescendo pedal.
(Crescendo pedals add ranks of pipes as the pedal is depressed. They are notoriously unpredictable and necessarily vary immensely from organ to organ) Since Hindemith writes for the organ as though it were as flexible and responsive as a piano, my teacher, Ray Ferguson, taught me to utilize any method possible to help create the effects Hindemith seems to be going for. This often involves the crescendo pedal and creating little holes in the music where one can suddenly depress the pedal a fraction.
It’s easy to mis-predict just when sounds are going to kick in. And it can be pretty startling when these sounds burst on in the middle of a phrase or a note.
I wasn’t totally satisfied with my use of crescendo pedal yesterday. But the Hindemith is a lovely piece (I think) and worth learning and listening to.
I ended the service with a Canzon by Froberger. This went okay. Playing postludes can be enervating. I have colleagues who have ceased to do so. People sometimes forget that I am not a boom box and will stand near the organ and talk loudly.
This makes it challenging not to get distracted, but I guess I did okay yesterday. At least the music didn’t suffer too much.
Come to think of it, my exhaustion was only partly from giving the music my all. The rest of it was an introvert trying to deal with a bunch of people and keeping myself as non-anxious and real as possible. This is draining.
Poor Eileen. I ranted all the way home, analyzing and commenting on the morning. This is no way to keep her connection to my work (the church stuff) comfortable for her. I have to do better.
After a lunch of left over grilled pesto pizza from the day before (mmmmm!), I sat in the living room and dozed over a novel (Shalimar the Clown by Salman Rushdie) while Eileen connected with Mom by taking her to Walgreens and the Dollar Store.
Later I got up and finished cleaning the kitchen (I set up the dishwasher before leaving for work yesterday). Finally got most of the mess off the stove from making tons of wedding pasta last week. Then I blanched and froze a bunch of green beans I bought on Saturday at the Farmer’s market.
By the time I had treadmilled and had some supper it was later than usual and I fell into bed exhausted.
My next big project is getting ready for Tuesday night’s rehearsal of the Grace Episcopal Lite Orchestra. I’m not sure who will be coming. This makes it hard. I have to remember that it does not actually require a lot of effort to pull this off. I must not work too hard on this unless I get inspired.
I was attempting to make next Sunday’s visit of the Bishop a big celebration but people keep letting me know they can’t be there. Several choir members (it’s a small choir and absences can be devastating), as well as instrumentalists. Oh well, I’m sure it will be fine. I’m just off balance as usual on Monday morning after the Sunday service.
Now onward and upward to a week of dance class accompaniment and other rehearsals and endeavors.