After rehearsal, I told some of the other string players how I felt about the Siegfried Idyll. It's hard to play and it isn't even pretty, so why work that hard? They all laughed and agreed with me.
This orchestra is a great group of people, but tonight I met the first exception to that rule. My usual standmate wasn't there, and neither was hers, so we sat together. She was really cold. Whenever she had something to say, she turned around and talked to the people in the stand behind us, steadfastly ignoring me. I felt so uncomfortable that, after our break, I didn't even want to sit next to her. Next time, I won't.
Our conductor is really good. He is a good teacher. I feel that I'm learning a lot about how the music works from the inside.
I really enjoy the Mozartian seating arrangement we use for the Mozart, with the first and second violins on opposite sides of the conductor. I hear a much better balance of sounds. I hear the first violins strongly, but they don't swamp out the seconds or anybody else. I can hear a good dialogue between the firsts and seconds.
After the rehearsal, I talked about the music with a friend who is a Russian immigrant. Like many people from abroad, he is more familiar with classical music than most Americans. At first, he did not recognize the name "Caucasian Sketches," but when I said "Ippolitov-Ivanov" in my highly imperfect Russian, he caught on. He started telling me about the Caucasian area of Russia. When I mentioned "The Russian Sailor's Dance," he got really excited. He said that that was a wonderful dance, which he used to do when he was younger. I asked him whether it's the kind of dance that I've seen in which the dancers get into a squatting position and kick their legs out. He said yes, and I remarked that such a dance requires strong knees. I asked him whether it was really a Russian sailors' dance, and he said that it certainly was. It is a dance performed by men dancing without partners, as sailors at sea danced. (The Highland fling, a traditional Scottish dance done by men without partners, also derives from a sailors' dance.) I'd love to see a live performance of a Russian sailors' dance.
I have to wait three more weeks for another orchestra rehearsal. Oh, no! I have a similar long wait for my next yoga class. Oh, no, again! What will I do? Practice both.
These issues are very much alive today, as evidenced in the discussion on this website. Someone wrote that both of his parents were musicians. The father was a "serious" musician who played classical music, and his mother was a devotee of one of the less "learned" genres of music. She came to believe that her kind of music was inferior to his, and she dropped it. Their grown child regrets this, and so do I. Love and music are two things which should never be stamped out. No one form of either of these is inherently superior to another. Love, talent, and appreciation come in all different sizes, shapes, and colors.
Now I still don't understand how Alma or anyone else got to be a muse. How does one person inspire creativity in another? Does the inspirer (muse, female) have to give up her own creativity for the inspiree? I don't understand the phenomenon.
I've tried thinking about people who have inspired me in my creative endeavors. Playing music with other people is an activity in which one person can touch something deep within another and make it sing. It happens regardless of personality and personal history. It can't be explained rationally any more than falling in love. When you find it, as I have been fortunate enough to many times, you just feel thrilled and make the most of it.