September 6, 2012 at 9:06 PM"They should have known want; they should have known hunger. Zimbalist, Elman, Heifetz, Rosen, Seidel - they all came of poor people. There is something, I know not what, that is bred in the soul by poverty. It is something mystic. To feel this terrible need is the motive power that drives genius. It develops feeling; it makes both force and tenderness." ~Leopold Auer
I didn't grow up poor, but I do know about hunger: tell me about long winter months of uninterrupted silence and musical deprivation, and I will tell you about hunger. Hunger comes from the starvation of the soul. Throw me a single scrap of enlightenment after such cultural poverty, and I will pounce on it, begging for more.
For three weeks after the summer music festival concert, I went on a muse-inspired practice binge, stuffing my fingers full of Bach, Brahms, Mozart, and Bruch. My appetite flourished, completely insatiable; with great big mouthfuls, I devoured them all, readying myself for the next great musical experience. I was on fire.
About three weeks of unreturned emails and coffee shop back-outs from other musicians is also about the amount of time it takes to put a fire hose to my bonfire of enthusiasm. Three and a half weeks into this inspired journey, and I suddenly threw up my hands in disgust. What is this? Another haphazard finger in the blender of musical repertoire? It felt like I'd been cut off, and the wound bled a painful, seeping stain into my hours of investment.
Meanwhile, the wind shifted, stripping yellowed leaves from the trees in gusts. Parking lots in town emptied of their flux of RV's and fishing boats. Cranes and chickadees rounded up into their respective flocks, and the porcupines took to crossing the roads. As a well-seasoned Alaskan, I knew what would follow; I could scent it on the wind.
Survival instincts are three: fight, flight, or play dead. To get through the upcoming onslaught of solitude and darkness, I had my three plans figured out: 1.) Pester people until they play music with me. Kidnap a cellist. 2.) Move to Austin. Eat brisket. 3.) Buy a large bottle of spirits and shut it all out. Repeat.
Prompted by the persistent wind, I picked up the phone and gave Tammy another call. Tomorrow? Bruch? Your place? Simple as that, I'd finally pinned her down. Immediately, my shoulders felt lighter during the evening's purposeful practice.
Who knows, maybe we will actually make it to the Khachaturian this time. I'm going to do whatever it takes. Whatever it takes...
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