Journey of 100

Chaconne #6

6) August 12, 2012 Williamstown, MA Private home for 2 longtime friends and music lovers.  Drove down from Bennington where I have been performing and teaching at the Chamber Music Conference for the past 2 weeks …packed up my things, got in the car, arrived and played. There were a few funny concentration issues: I was smelling the beautiful lunch my Hostess prepared and the smells distracted me, made me lose the thread – I had to remember to listen and not smell!

 Not having worked the piece much at all during Bennington, the performance was a little better than so-so, from my point of view.   The larger musical organization was intact, emotional flow decent, just a lot of ins and outs in concentration: made me want to pay much more attention in my daily practice to this issue; also focussing and tightening the smaller circles…realized that 100 performances will go by quickly, need to value each and every one, each phrase…

played all dance movements – reflecting in the drive home that the four dance movements and the Chaconne are inextricably linked – they form absolutely one singular flow.  convinced.   never heard them this way before.  Allemande build to m15 had powerful effect on listeners, same with reflective end into…Corrente m1,2 bass line martélé correct,  m43-44 shifts worked like a charm (practiced right)…Sarabanda repeat good but disorganized…Giga RA (right arm) arcs and circles ng…Chaconne opening dotted rhythm phrases out of focus; the balance between the three voices remain most difficult spot… 

a beautiful moment – interpersonal, musical sharing: my Hostess said at the end that she had been holding back tears, not wanting to disturb me…confirming my ideas of depth and transformation…for me, those tears were the highest compliment one could be paid,  in fact a most important part of the performance and part of the transformative movement I aspire to create through playing music.   Host commented on the feeling of the music, the sound and emotions in and on his body.

One response to “Chaconne #6”

  1. Gary Soucie says:

    What an incredible experience, one that shall long be remembered! The intensity was such that I sometimes forgot to breathe–not holding my breath, but just being held in something like suspended animation. All afternoon, the music kept running through my head.The most intimate musical experience of my life.

    Interestingly, my bilateral tinnitus disappeared during Shem’s playing and stayed away the rest of the day–returned the next morning, darn it.

Chaconne #5

July 29, 2012 Lake Oneida, NY  – Weekend Chamber Music party.   Balance of rhythmic discipline and rhythmic freedom felt a bit awry, but then, it *was* first thing in the morning.  Also noticed that some passages need some technical cleaning…new ones that used to be settled…

One response to “Chaconne #5”

  1. Rose Weaver says:

    That’s what music once was, before all the new inventions !
    a small group of friends, family with musicmaking. It was a wonderful experience. Although I am not qualified to “judge”
    the performance : the beautiful sound,warm,quiet,strong just flowed out of that great violin. Clearly the instrument produced only the result of intense understanding and concentration What we heard was a profound connection with this Bach’s masterpiece. The few people that were privileged to share this event will remember it deeply.
    Lucky are the ones that will experience the future performances !

Chaconne #4

July 25, 2012 NY NY private apartment at Lincoln Center for Russian friends and colleagues.  Played all four dance movements as part of performance …spieled  as well about Why 100?.  Deep concentration a bit of an issue.  Was confused about the balance of freedom and form, freedom and rhythmic pulse between the dance movements and the Chaconne….4 dance movements definitely set up questions and the Chaconne answers them.  Host reserved performance #97!

July 28 – comment: I had this sense that one of my Russian friends was trying to tell me something during the performance: and I think I just realized what it was:  regarding the artistic repetition of 100 – in this instance the *quantity* becomes a *quality* – this is precisely the language that one of Artist friends used about certain aspects of his own work – and I never made the connection until just now.

July 31 – In the course of our discussion, my Russian host informed me that all Russian school children were well informed about Hegel’s dialectic of “quantity, as it grows, becomes a quality” – and that in the USSR Marx adopted Hegel’s statement as part of his ideology.

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Chaconne Journal entry 7/17/12

July 17, 2012 I have started to hear the first four movements linked to the Chaconne…as one spirit….a sense of urgency within the music, within the lines…an urgency to travel ahead…to go, to move towards a destination distant and magnetic…Have never heard or felt these phrases in this way….

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Chaconne #3

Performance for colleague Hastings-on-Hudson, NY June 22, 2012 8:30 P.M.
He loved the purity of pitch and sound…his comment was that I used vibrato in some places but not others, and because he found the purity of my sound so persuasive,  it made him wonder if I might consider not using any vibrato.    Personally I have not even considered this and have to think it through.

Non-vibrato as an 18th century norm, or as an 18th century aesthetic never appealed to me, and I believe that the notion is flawed to begin with.

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