one way I keep my life in Japan exciting is not paying close attention to what is going on. The way this system works is I try to stay alert to days when things may be happening but probe no further. Thus recently I had noticed my piano trio increasing the number of rehearsals per week, muttering a lot and asking me to sign bits of paper. Then as per system, I got dressed up, into a car and was transported to a place I had never been before for some thing to do with music. So what exactly are we doing today I enquired at last.
Cellist `oh. Today our trio is competing in a big competition here.`
B) Really? That was the pouint of all that work then... How many contestants today?
c) About 80.
B) Mmm. So we play for....
c) 6 minutes.
I thought the event was a bit odd since aside from 50 solo pianists there was a marimba group, sax band and a lone mandolin player. Fortunately we were put into classes of which ours was called `chamber ensemble.` I have to confess to being puzzled as to why a solo violinist playing Ysaye and another playing the Bruch with piano accompaniament counted as chamber ensemble but there you go. As we were about to go on stage I said `look guys, I don`t want to drive all this way for six minutes. Let`s just play through this Beethoven trio until somebody stops us.` Nobody did. We played for a long time!
Anyway, we won. The judges included a well known Japanese contest pianist who in her comments said that she had given us 100 percent across the board for all judging criteria, but with reservations. I have to confess this puzzled me. I mean if she had reservations (which she didn`t specify) then why not give us 95 percent instead? Later that day I met her by the coffee machine and she looked at me quizically `Do I know you from somewhere?` `Yes, I was concertmaster of an orchestra you played the Beethoven Emeperor cocnerto with five years ago.`
`Really? How was it?`
I couldn`t resist. `I gave it 100 percent across the board with no reservations.` She smiled sweetly and my heart broke. Again.
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