Last Sunday, my friend Josh and I played the Handel Sonata in G minor, Opus 2, No. 8 for two violas and harpsichord for the church service. Given the length of the various movements and the liturgy, the movements were played out of order. We started with the 4th movement for the "Prelude" - then the 1st & 2nd, and finally the 3rd movement - Largo for the Offertory.
At first I was calm, cool and collected, but then I made a mistake and looked up to see a chapel FULL of people and nearly panicked. My bow arm started shaking. However this time, unlike other times in the past, I was able to gain control over my nerves (with a some literal hand-holding) and was able to relax into the moment and the music. Each time I perform, it gets a little easier on the nerves.
Josh and I are now starting to work on our next performance piece - "Lament" by Frank Bridge. Quite a bit more challenging than the Handel, but a pure pleasure to play.
My friend Josh and I will be playing the Handel Sonata for 2 violas at the church in a few weeks. This piece is deceptively simple. There are not many places that go above 3rd position and the tempos aren't incredibly challenging. What is challenging is what's required to play a duet and well. First is the matching of dynamics, the passing off a phrase to each other, and matching styles so that it sounds like a single violist playing the piece alone.
I was concerned that I sounded "scrubby" and not producing a bell or organ quality that I was looking for, only to find out that from 3 feet away all the "scrubbiness" that I heard under my ear was inaudible. And to think that I struggled with this so much over the past few years and then find out that what I hear is different from what others hear. Live and learn! With that particular concern set aside for the moment, I can now focus on the other stylistic aspects of this piece.
I'm actually looking forward to the performance.
This summer is turning out to be busier than I ever expected between the new job and various rehearsals and performances. The one thing I'm starting to miss is the hours of private practice time I used to have available to me. As a result, the progress I was making when I was laid-off has come to a screeching halt, and in some areas back-tracked. I'm noticing some bad-habits creeping in that need addressing.
The problem is, where do I find the time? Right now that time is relegated to breaks in rehearsals. It is not anywhere near an ideal time or circumstance to practice, but it is what I have at the moment. I'm to the point where I'm considering practicing during my lunch break. Luckily the area of the building that I'm in only has me and the receptionist, so it is relatively private most of the time.
More entries: June 2009
Enter to win Leonidas Kavakos' recording of the Brahms Violin Concerto.
Mendy Smith is from League City, Texas. Biography
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