Thursday, July 5, 2007

Again and again and again

Often, I have found, the first time we (any chamber music group I play with) plays a piece, it sounds great. On our sight-reading nights, all sounds good, and we go on and on.

However, when we decide to work on a piece to bring it to performance level, it seems to fall apart, initially, sink into some sort of abyss, and I can't remember how I could have possibly played the piece previously. Sometimes I don't even recognize it. Gradually, the piece comes [back] together, and we are pleased with the result.

Most likely, I was not really hearing all the problems the first time through; it probably wasn't as splendid that first time through as I thought it was.

I enjoy sight-reading and I am one of the people who is always buying new music, but I would rather spend time with a piece than just sight-read, especially with the initially unfamiliar early music pieces we play, working out the fingerings, the articulations, and dynamics, and feeling how one's part fits in with the whole.

At a minimum, being able to recognize the piece! "Oh, that's the Canzona from the Purcell Sonata in F Major," I want to be able to say. Seems like a reasonable request. But it takes a deliberate effort to focus! I am recording all the rehearsals now and making CDs for everyone, which helps a lot, especially since I am playing cello and not always focusing on the flute/recorder/violin melodies.

Both the flute choir and the early music group are performing on Labor Day, and several of us are playing in both groups. I am happy to say that both groups are focusing now, playing only the music that we will be performing on Labor Day, seeking to perfect it. It seems like a long time until Labor Day: we haven't even had a good summer heat wave yet. But I'll be away two weeks (at Grey Fox and then at Scottish fiddle camp), and other people will be away too, so there are only a few rehearsals where we will have the whole early music group (2 flutes, recorder, violin, cello, occasional second cello, harpsichord) all together.

Last year, we only had three members in the early music group and patched together a program in about two weeks, some of which I barely recognized when it came time to play it! We're already miles ahead of that!

No comments: