26 April 2018

Yo, Thoreau

Among numerous other benefits, the 17 April concert gave me the opportunity (the excuse?) to practice my clarinet with even more focus than is usual in such a performance cycle.  With the clarinet, therefore, so well primed, I felt that I wanted to sit and play Thoreau in Concord Jail again.

This was the piece which, not all that long ago, was found by some to be an occasion to subject me to an extremely unpleasant, and ultimately neither deserved nor remotely necessary, ‘meeting’ at which my compositional philosophy was scorned as ‘abstract.’  In effect, unmutual.  Two parties lit into me, while two others just sat and smiled:  “You’re a guest here in our home, and these other guests have set you up as a target;  do enjoy yourself, Karl.”

In this case, the most suitable advice appears to be:  Forgive, but never forget.  I’ll call it water under the bridge, but I’ll be damned if I ever accept another invitation to meet in those conditions.  Neutral territory only, thank you very much.

Playing this piece is perhaps a way in which I practice Zen.  I enjoy the devotion to the half-hour, the experience, the activity of playing, listening to the clarinet’s tone.  In the way of wabi sabi, the clarinet’s tone, even when I find at times, that it probably ought to be better.

This performance, then, is probably imperfect;  but I feel that it is, nevertheless, well lived.

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