Sunday, August 21, 2011

Where Did the Summer Go?

Ok, we still have a couple of weeks of summer, but it has slipped by so quickly. Our end-of-summer performance that was so far in the future is this Tuesday. This will be the fiddling group concert. The classical music quartet performed last Tuesday.

Both performances were/are at an outdoor art fair, where people do not actually sit down and listen to us, but get to hear us amplified throughout the entire craft fair. There's no escape for them. I have pretty much gotten over my "don't mike me" attitude, having been convinced by the "when in doubt, play out" school of performing that a strong, resonant, robust wrong note is better than a scratchy, tentative, wimpy right note. That, and we have improved.

Our recent quartet performance, a 2-and-a-half-hour gig, was much better than our June concert. We did have a few breakdowns, but nothing terribly dramatic, and some pieces we played better than ever. Pachelbel's Canon, for instance. As you may know, the cello part for this is the same 8 notes over and over and over and over again. And, even though I have them memorized, I read from the sheet music so I know where we are, even though I admit this is silly.

One of our flute players has had problems with the piece, and we omitted it from our June performance. This time we decided to go for it. The flutists played perfectly. My mind wandered and I got lost, briefly. The viola player also got lost, but she is a great improviser, and found her way to the end.

Because there wasn't really an audience, there was no formal applause after each piece, though we did get intermittent applause and yells of appreciation, and some people came over to tell us they enjoyed our playing, pleased to hear chamber music outside.

I don't remember if Pachelbel's Canon got any applause, but more important for me was our satisfaction in playing a mostly intact version of it. In addition, we played Haydn's London Trio, no. 1; a long-time favorite, Handel's Water Music excerpts, a new favorite; Ash Grove, Simple Gifts, Sellinger's Round, works by Boismortier, Wiseman, some Rodgers and Hammerstein show tunes, and more. We prepared a lot of music for this event, given its length. We only had to repead a couple of short pieces to round out the 2 1/2 hours.

This Tuesday, it's 2 1/2 hours of fiddle tunes! This is a women's fiddle group with fiddles, guitar, tin whistle, mandolin, and me on cello. We use sheet music, which I love because it is hard for me to memorize so many fiddle tunes and harmony parts. But I have probably spent more time transposing fiddle parts and working out playable arrangements (simplifying the fast runs, figuring out which octave works best, etc.) than I have practicing.

Practicing--a good idea! I will do it now!  

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