29 June 2015

Notes from Before the Blog: June 2003

At my dear wife's prompting, I decided to audition in Barcelona. Two lifelong dreams, in exhilarating conjunction: a visit to Spain, & an audition for a chair in a professional orchestra!

Should really have been practicing before, but I was exhausted Saturday, needed to be sociable with the choir after church on Sunday. At last, I put the clarinet together Monday, for 45 minutes - not solid playing, as I review the excerpts. Most seem as though they will fall under the fingers fairly easily ... a few, of course, will take serious practicing.

Tues, 3 June. Played a solid half hour's practice, running through the Mozart. I need a lot of practice, & I need to build up endurance ... but I think there is time enough.

Wed, 4 June. Good 45 mins of practice. Ran Mozart, & stage I excerpts, also played some Bach for stamina. As if in support of the whole endeavor, Mark E. sends to ask if I might play an opening voluntary on Sunday! Will put together the cl./org. arr. of Exaltabo Te, Deus.

Thu, 5 June. Weather change, tired in the evening ... rested from practice. Met at last with Tom P. Tom was very warm about the news that I am going to audition in Barcelona. He is almost as excited about it as I am myself!

Fri, 6 June. Had been planning to go to the music shop by Symphony Hall for a music stand; but as I waited at Park St, had the happy thought of stopping at the mall [en route to Petersham]. Got out of work early; so I arrived at the monastery good & early. Found not only a music stand, but a clarinet stand as well. Played 40 minutes, good stamina. Ready to begin twice-daily routine tomorrow. Fr Michael gave me the Traveler's Blessing.

[diary ends here]

03 June 2015

Impish Impermanence

Yesterday [2 June], the Studies in Impermanence went much better than I expected, or might have had any right to expect. It remains a nervy exploit, playing a 20-minute unaccompanied clarinet piece.

And I learnt that I am playing much better these days, than nine years ago, in rather an ironic way. Back when I first played the Studies, I took the faster passages cautiously slow, and the piece stretched out to almost 25 minutes. It's a while since I played it, so I was counting on the piece occupying 25 minutes for yesterday's concert. (In fact, when I performed the piece a couple of years later, in Atlanta, I took impromptu cuts, to keep the timing down; that may be one reason why I did not bridle overmuch when I was asked to play an abbreviated Thoreau in Concord Jail for Danvers. Anyway, better that, than being burnt for a witch . . . .)

Yesterday, I pretty much coasted through the piece. (Rather a surprise, considering how ratty Monday night's run-through of the Studies was . . . but then, yesterday I was fresh, where on Monday night, my brain probably suffered a bit from having endured the first day back in the office after a week's vacation.) Not saying my performance was perfect (it wasn't) but everything sits quite well in the fingers, and this is the most musical performance I've given of this piece yet.

I set up my recorder, but somehow managed not to record the performance. Maybe I'll try a "studio recording" here at home.