18 June 2010

Getting There

Enormously pleased with yesterday’s rehearsal of the cl/vn/pf trios. Eric Mazonson is, quite simply, the best pianist with whom it has yet been given to me to play; and he makes all of Night of the Weeping Crocodiles sound both musical and . . . almost easy. There is rapid arpeggiation in a 9/8 section (and apart from its rapidity, the arpeggiation is out of phase with the beat — the figure rises and falls, but the bass note only occasionally coincides with the metrical pulse). It’s not really an enormous deal, musically — but it is one of numerous “gee, this isn’t plain easy” elements to my work, which (so far as I can tell) are a factor in so few pianists getting back to me enthusiastically about scores I send them.

And Alexey is a marvelous violinist. Although the timetable suggests that I expected matters to fall out so, it is wonderful to experience how easy the piece has been to put together with these two. And they both like the music. Eric is not rehearsing this in the spirit of “This is for the 21st, and then we can put it to bed” — we will keep this piece in our repertory, and we will play as a trio again.

Now: I have written before about how I am relying on the six of us putting this arrangement of Scene vii of White Nights together in (basically) one rehearsal. But I am not a compleat fool. So I wanted to read through the scene, even just the three of us, yesterday . . . I did not want either Eric or Alexey (fine musicians and sharp readers though they are) to read through the piece in real time for the first instance this Monday afternoon. And, knowing that Alexey would be driving back to Providence from mostly-vacation on the Cape . . . I brought hard copy of the violin part with me, rather than rely on him to have remembered (or even, to have known) to bring it.

(And in fact, Eric hadn’t brought his White Nights music, either. But I had a score with me to lend him for yesterday.)

It was a good thing to read it through yesterday, because all three of us (and not I alone) now know what to expect musically of the span of the scene. And it was really exciting to hear this music at last (which for years has existed only in electronica) sound as air vibrations from instruments driven by people.

Nicole & Brian Chamberlain arrive in Boston from Atlanta this morning, and I shall go welcome them on the Boston Common.

Yesterday, a disc arrived from Steven Serpa, which I am sure must be (at last) the February performance of the De profundis.

But now, I am going to zip over to the church and put in an hour’s practice.

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