wrapped around me
hidden by its folds
I peer reluctantly outward
Like stone, hunched, heavy, soundless.....
The world is all but mine.
I retreat into its billows,
distance is my refuge
it's comfort, cold and numbing
There's nothing cooler than walking on stage with a big program ahead of you and to feel almost nothing beyond a sense of calm and an underlying excitement to play. The only thing that freaked me out about the idea of playing the recital was the notion that I was doing the Bach from memory, no score in hand. But I never really got nervous. I was very determined to not cave and use the score. I'd been practicing running it through for at least two weeks before the recital so I knew that I could do it but there's always that little twinge of self-doubt poking you gently in the back of your mind, which maybe is a good thing since I was very determined to do it by memory and get through no matter what happened. I think another huge factor that helped make it such a positive experience was walking out on stage and seeing a row of friends all sitting there cheering me on! It makes you feel almost fearless because you know that they are there for you and want you to succeed and it makes you feel kind of invincible. You obviously still have to remain focused and concentrate the entire time but knowing that there are people there who will scream and holler at the end no matter what happens makes it so much easier to relax!
So last year I talked about, what did I talk about? Probably the dress.... *goes and looks through the archives from February 2007*... yes I did talk about the dress and the new found sense of control in my playing. I wore the same dress again and again I felt a new sense of control in my playing. Previously, vibrato has been a hugely frustrating point for me in performance and just in general. This performance, as well as many of my more recent ones, I've not tensed up as much as I used to. I also, especially in the Bach, felt a much greater ability to stay in the moment with what I was playing. I didn't think ahead as much and my mind didn't wander off topic of what I was doing. But you don't really want to hear about all same things that happened last year that happened this year, only magnified so I'm just going to get to the mushy stuff!!
My friends and family!! This year I have been incredibly lucky to work with some really great musicians and friends! Someone said they were looking forward to coming to my recital and hearing my "army" of pianists, I didn't really have an army, I had three, and they were all fun and very different to work with!! A huge thanks to Winnie, Sunny and Iman who have all been great friends and a great support this past year! I've thoroughly enjoyed working with you all and feel really thankful and blessed to have had the opportunity to play with you all!
Another big thanks to all my friends who came out to the concert and cheered me on! As I said above, walking on stage and seeing a whole row of you was an incredible feeling and a lot of you were supportive throughout the preparation process for this recital and all your love and support and encouraging words and willingness to sit and listen to me hack through my repertoire in the weeks leading up to the recital were a massive help to me!
And another big thanks to my parents! The left at 5:30 in the morning so that they could get to Vancouver by around 11:30 or so for the recital and they were back on the road back home by shortly after 3 in the afternoon. They spent 12 hours in the car just so they could hear my recital! And credit for the dress goes to my mom!
I really can't put into words how grateful and happy and thankful and blessed and everything else I feel right now. I couldn't have hoped for a more positive experience for a first "big city" recital and I can't wait until the next one!!
For better or for worse, tomorrow I walk out on stage to play my first recital solo recital here in Vancouver. Right now, I'm thrilled, excited, pumped eager for it to be here. By tonight, I might be wishing I had a bit more time.
Performing is always so bittersweet for me! Mostly it's really sweet but there are definitely elements of sadness and disappointment every time. You put so much of yourself and spend so many hours practicing and preparing yourself for the big day (kind of like a wedding!) and then in the short space of only a couple of hours, it's all over. For those couple of glorious hours spent on stage, you've probably spent days, if not weeks worth of hours practicing on your own, mentally preparing, and then you have those precious couple of incredible (if things go right!) hours where you get to share what you've been working on with the world. And then it's over. And then it' onto the next thing.
Words cant really express how I feel about tomorrow! I'm just so so so so excited and I hope I can go out there and kick butt and have fun and let the audience have fun too!!
I've come to the realization that no matter how you look at it, playing Bach is hard. You can practice for hours and hours and hours, the notes are there, the techniques there, the musicality is there but somehow the overall performing of it just never gets easier! Every time you perform Bach it's a new experience. New things go right, new things go wrong, new voicings or individual notes/ideas stick out. It's cool because you never really get bored of it but at the same time it's frustrating because you never really know what to expect, you do, but you don't. I've been practicing the E major Partita a lot this term at school and it's finally all memorized. I can get through it (though not flawlessly) by memory now. Yesterday I ran it 4 times from start to finish. It's an exhausting task to do and for me, when it comes to my recital next week, the tricky part is going to be my ability to stay mentally focused on the task at hand at all times. It's physically demanding to play but it's mentally the most taxing and difficult to get through. The first 3 mvts go well, the 4th and 5th kind of float along and then in the Bourree and Gigue at the end, thoughts unrelated to Bach tend to creep in. Thoughts like "gee, I could use a caramel macchiatto about now" or "why did the ceiling fan just come on? Or has it been all this time and I just didn't notice?" or "Why am I so hungry? I just ate lunch!" and all these thoughts are usually followed with "Oh.....(insert expletive here).... where am I?"
I don't normally listen to recordings of pieces I'm working on that much but yesterday warranted some listening! I found an old film on youtube of Perlman playing the entire E major Partita and out of all the renditions of the Partita that I've heard over the years, his is the character that I hope to capture in my performance next week. There is such joy and energy and love in his playing that few players capture. For all the dark and moody qualities that exist in Bach's music, so often the joy and pure beauty that are present are left behind and Perlman, for me, really captures that true joy and happiness that exists in this Partita. His pacing is beautiful. Never rushed, never lagging. It all runs so smoothly, each mvt flowing from one into the next. It's gorgeous!
If any of you have any words of wisdom in my last week of preparation for my recital, particularly when it comes to getting through an entire Bach sonata or partita by memory and then still having the rest of the recital to go on and play, your input and advice would be muchly appreciated!
The blurby thing under the calender along with my poster can be seen here:
(a better blog entry that is more stimulating and exciting will come in the near future)
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