August 2, 2009 at 6:12 PM
After checking my reflection in the bright lights of the dressing room mirror, I retune. I didn't particularly need to, but I figured I should check the strings before going onstage for 40 minutes. A-D, D-G, A-E. Yup, all good. I start the first movement of the Tchaikovsky, jump to the sixths in the cadenza, begin the third movement, and run through the final scale at half tempo. I felt good, the instrument sounded good, and I was looking forward to launching into Mr. Tchaikovsky's Opus 35 again. A knock at the door: "Five minutes...five minutes. Overture's almost through." I follow the portly man to the stage door, and smooth out my sweaty palms on the ebony Klein dress pants. The familiar feeling of adrenaline started to pulse through me, and I plucked the strings absent-mindedly, hoping the finger slip I had with the concerto in California wouldn't return tonight. How many times had I played the Tchaikovsky now? A lot - I had no reason to be nervous...yet, those demons occasionally come back. A board member approaches me, and gives a little smile. "We are so excited for tonight! Isn't the orchestra fun?" "Yes," I respond politely, "I can't wait to be onstage with them again." "Well, we can't wait, either," she enthuses. "Everyone here LOVES the Sibelius concerto."
Oh, this was hilarious to read! : ) And I love, love, love (hearing) the Grieg sonatas - so glad to hear musicians are performing them; wasn't sure if it was a "doesn't get performed often" kind of thing.
Thanks for the update, do share more in the future!
I agree with Terez. That was a great read, ad I'd like more from you.
What is the famous story about Oistrakh?
I'm so glad this happens to instrumentalists and not just singers. I always had a recurrent nightmare of showing up onstage, the orchestra is playing and I can't remember the opening words of my aria. Whenever I've been onstage and it's actually happened I could always resort to a kind of Chinese to fill in a syllable or two but when it's a warhorse the audience usually knows it better than I do.
David Oistrakh was on tour in Eastern Europe alternating between the Mendelssohn and Beethoven concerti...standing on stage, he nodded to the conductor to begin, and instead of the timpani beats, he hears the familiar e-minor eighth notes, and, flustered, rushed to come in on time.
Once, I was playing a recital, and had no clue that 18 months prior, I had agreed to perform the Recitativo and Scherzo on the program. My pianist wasn't walking out with me, and, confused, the stagehand showed me the program. THAT was fun. :(
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