Journey of 100
This performance was part of a larger program of chamber music at the home of two wonderful music lovers on the West Side.
I was bugged that I did not have time in our pre-performance rehearsal to run the opening a few times – but in fact it started out ok. Over the last month or so of *not* playing the piece (Wagner’s Ring operas and Handel Julius Ceasare at the MET) the independence, clarity and flow of the bass line in the theme and the first dotted-rhythm variations has taken shape.
The overall Arch of the work felt intact: kept the first section cadence in d minor from being too big and felt that the cadence in D major had it rightful peak – leaving me lots of room to unwind the energy and dynamic in the return to the minor. I also tried whipping the tempo back in the groove at mm149 and that seemed to work as well.
There were a number of fascinating comments from listeners afterwards that I hope will appear on this blog – comments about Divinity of Mathematics (Newton), and “…the human, spiritual tumblers aligning…” words to that effect.
Good morning everyone! If all the technology is correct this will go out to all of you who are my Facebook friends – I hope you will take a minute and to read this and check out my new website.
As part of my Journey of 100 performances of this amazing piece of music (Chaconne for Solo Violin) I am performing this morning at LaGuardia High School for Music and Art, a wonderful school in NYC where many many musicians and artists received their early training.
It is challenging to keep this performance project moving during recent weeks at the MET where we are in the midst of presenting a number of LONG and hard operas (e.g. an amazing rendering of Parsifal tonite, for example, at 6 PM) Daniele Gatti and a once-in-a-lifetime cast). But WORTH every ounce of my sweat equity.
After today’s performance of the Bach at LaGuardia I will log in my performance comments here, and hopefully we will also read some of the reactions of the students as well.
Well it was an *early* morning for me – rain and NYC traffic delays left me arriving right on time after parking – and with no time to warm up… it was wonderful to walk into a room with 100+ kids who were totally engaged and participated fully with me as I warmed up in front of them and performed the work.
I told them about what I was hoping to accomplish with this journey of 100 performances, in particular focussing on the development and perfection of a technique of playing Bach’s music with 2 and sometimes three clearly distinct voices.
Starting out with hands and arms cold, not warmed up, puts you in the position of having to sort of go with the flow of your body while at the same time seeking to “sink into” the music. Sometimes I can just empty my mind and then Spirit just takes over – but not this morning! None the less, judging from comments made live there from the students, I was successful in getting the music and the ideas across.
After I played one of the co-leaders of their orchestra got up and played the first page of the Chaconne. We worked together as I showed him ways to use his bow – without changing his fundamental approach – that would begin to develop his ability to create a distinctly clear Bass voice, and two varying upper voices – this instead of just playing chords. Clearly a very hard-working and devoted violinist, he was open, receptive and able to execute the fundamental ideas. His colleagues were thoroughly supportive, participatory and warm! They clearly love and admire him greatly, and it was easy to see why.
I am still hoping that some students will find their way to leave us some comments, because their reactions in the room were terrific.
My thanks to the Faculty and Administration of LaGuardia High School for Music and Art for making this event come together!
Private performance, Orangeburg, NJ.
This evening was a most wonderful experience, a perfect expression of what I am hoping to accomplish with the Journey of 100 performances. Our Host and Hostess thoughtfully invited 14 or so of their good friends, from different paths in their lives, including their daughter-in-law who will be delivering a wonderful baby in approximately three weeks. According to Mom, Baby loved the performance and was dancing away!
Everyone in the group had a chance to introduce themselves and describe their role on our Hosts’ lives, and then the music began. The notion of Journey through Music had such powerful resonance for each and every person there, and that made me happy.
What pulled it all together was yet another creative accomplishment: a vast buffet dinner with homemade Italian and Italian-influenced culinary wonders! No kidding, this was just a like a variation on what was depicted in the film “Babette’s Feast”!
As for me and the music, I certainly enjoyed playing for these wonderful people. I was using a brilliant violin made in 1776 by Antonio Gragnani – an instrument that I am not completely familiar with, it being on a limited loan to me from David Segal Violins, Ltd. The tension and sounding manner of the instrument itself is considerably different than my own, and handling the multiple voices was, shall we say, challenging – a few more weeks with the fiddle would have been perfect.
A very gratifying experience for me, and the listeners as well, I believe. There were about a dozen people who had prepared for the performance through Yoga and guided Meditation.
Performance was good…my work done a week or so ago on the ending (mentioned previously) really has held and shaped it well. I think I want to work through the first and second sections with a very defined rhythmic groove and see if it focuses the form a bit better. I suspect that as I have been exploring freedom in the variations I may be losing power from focussing the flow.
A great way to end a day that started with the Dress Rehearsal of Berlioz’ Les Troyens – all 5.5 hours of it!
Nice intimate audience; great colleagues on this program organized by guitarist Sean Harkness, who was a wonderfully supporting colleague to me, singer Carole Demas, pianist Ian Herman, singer/guitarist Ellis Paul and a curiously funny comic whose stage name is even curioser: Brute Force.
I was very pleased with the flow of a number of segments of the Chaconne: the three-tones on A sequence (in the major section) and the build to the end from the return to D minor where I was really able to hold back and hold back and then release the stored anticipation. Additionally the most difficult variations to play three voices as independent musical lines – the dotted rhythms right at the beginning – started to show the work I have been putting in on them.
The notion of repetition seeking depth and center of the great work seemed to have a lot of resonance with our listeners.
December 3, 2012 7 PM at The Players
16 Gramercy Park, NY NY