You can't always get what you want; that's basically how I would sum up the story line for Puccini's opera, Tosca. And, I have to confess, it wasn't just the beautiful music, the free ticket, and the fact that I would be getting to look down on my fellow Anchorage symphony friends from the Mezzanine. (Bravo, by the way!) No, I chose Tosca to be my first live opera experience because once I looked it up on the internet, I became riveted by the tragic plot, in which two lovers almost live happily ever after but (spoiler alert!) end up dying violently instead at the last minute, to some of the most ironic music ever written.
Something about a good tragedy really appeals to my dark, cynical side. I don't know, is it too many long winters in Alaska? Or am I just a realist? After all, does anyone really truly live happily ever after? (I'm thinking long and hard between sentences.) Even from a spiritual stand point, I've been told not to put too much stock in what this life has to offer, that the soul was meant for Heaven, and could only look forward to being reunited with its real home some day.
So, I'd gotten used to disappointment somewhere along the way. I've become so accustomed to chasing the moon in vain that I guess I forgot to stop and ask myself what I'd ever do with myself if one day...
I'm happy. I confess. I haven't wanted to write about it, though, under this notion that it's all just too good to be true. In a frightfully unstable economy where no future seems certain--especially where musicians and careers are concerned--everything seems to have magically fallen into place. I'm not rich and famous by any means (yet!), but I have what I need. I practice five hours a day, and that still isn't enough to cover all my musical venues, what with the symphony, the string quartet, and my upcoming chamber music concert in March. I'm squeezing rehearsals in left and right, all while dreaming even more about what amazing musical adventure I can take next.
Why is it, that when faced with the fiscal cliff, I chose to take a running start and dive headlong with the purchase of my dream violin? Was it the sensation of flying that I craved, the sheer pleasure of feeling weightless for a spell? Perhaps I was hoping there's nothing at the bottom of the cliff, and I'll just get to float on forever.
I don't know how this particular story will end, but given a choice between stability and dream chasing, I will always choose music, foregoing other luxuries and securities to be with my passion. I feel that only by jumping in with all I have can I escape a fate worse than death. (You only need to peruse my dark entries from last spring to understand.) Regardless of what's at the bottom of this, I already know I will be happiest if I'm following my God-given passion. After all, creating is a survival need, right up there with eating. It is the signature of the human soul, and identifies us with our Creator. Even in the most impoverished countries, people still play music; it's been this way since the beginning.
No you can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you may find...
Did I tell you what I got for Christmas? It was the best present ever, even better than a pony. I've asked for years now, and though most people thought I was joking, a few took me seriously, and finally someone took some steps to make it happen.
I got a string quartet! Kevin shopped long and hard around Anchorage in search for just the right violinist and violist to complete the set. After all, finding four people with similar skills and ideas, amiable personalities, well-balanced group dynamics, like-minded goals, and work schedules with the same free time is about like... well, let's just say, if I wasn't before, I'm a firm believer in Christmas miracles. We met for the first time last Monday, and I can already tell that I like them. We move fast, too! After opening our first session with Shostakovich's 8th string quartet--talk about ice breaker!--we sight-read the Borodin nocturne, closing the rehearsal with the first movement of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, and promptly proceeded to book our first wedding gig in February. I'm getting up extra early tomorrow to make the drive through the mountain pass to Anchorage for our second rehearsal, to sight-read a couple of wedding anthologies and sketch out possible repertoire for a summer concert.
My very own string quartet... Best Christmas present ever. It's like, if the ship sinks, I at least know I'll have a quartet to keep me company on the way down now. After all, nothing beats playing good music with good friends.
Another curious thing happened during the time since I last wrote in October: I fell in love. I know, I'd already previously committed to another, but I guess deep down, I knew I hadn't yet found what I was looking for, and my heart went searching elsewhere for what was lacking in our relationship. Years went by with no luck, yet I continued with compelling persistence. But you can't rush fate, and when the moment is right, you'll meet the One, and there won't be any question about it.
And on 12-12-12, that is exactly what happened. We met in Philadelphia, and it was love at first sound. A 1927 Sannino, he had all the qualities I was looking for, and then some: a crisp and projecting, yet deep and woody thick tone, sensitive responsiveness, great clarity and ease of playing--and something else I can't quite put my finger on, except to call it Magic. As the days passed while I considered our long-term commitment, he and I fell deeper and deeper in love. Our playing chemistry was out of this world; we were already on the same page on so many levels! My throat opened as if to speak, and he stole the words right from my mouth.
But what do you do when you meet the violin of your dreams and he's out of your league? Well, you cry, you pray, you try one thing and then another before you consider dark, criminal behavior, and then, with a little help from loved ones, your dreams come true, and you bring him home.
I own a new violin--or rather, it owns me! January opens a new door, and the possibilities that lay beyond seem endless.
Happy New Year, Violinist.com! In the time-honored tradition of fresh beginnings and firm resolve that accompany the flip of the calendar, I've set about resuming the usual dutiful habits that promote good health and well-being. Needless to say, how could I not feel the tug of the pen, as well? I look forward to keeping in touch with all of you once again.
2012 proved to be a pivotal point in my life in Alaska. Last fall, Kevin and I were able to meet regularly to practice our piano trio repertiore, as well as some cello/violin duos. We also met with Maria a couple of times and began to plan for a spring concert featuring several of our local chamber ensembles. Somewhere along the way, we decided to create a name and logo for our group of performers, with the intention of making a regular concert schedule for our community. Our first official concert would probably come together in the spring, but I just couldn't wait that long.
On a wintry Saturday night in December, Kevin and I rounded up our music and headed over to the coffee shop for some Bach and Gliere duos. Despite the howling wind, formidable road conditions, and little advertising, a full house awaited us with expectant ears. What a wonderful evening of music unfolded! Kevin added a sampling from the cello suites, which gave me a moment to sit and reflect. Across from me played someone who literally could have been performing anywhere with anyone (He actually turned down a concert in Anchorage with cellist Zuill Bailey to be there!), and he chose to play with me and entertain the people of Soldotna instead. Many people that came that night had never been to a classical concert; most of my friends usually have to work or take care of their kids. I felt honored to finally be able to share with them something I love so passionately, and proud to be the one to introduce Kevin to our community--such a gem!
And with that, Musica Borealis was born, a performing ensemble society whose mission is to bring classical music to the people, wherever they are, and share its beauty in the hopes of creating light in the northernmost reaches of the planet.
We have so much to look forward to this spring, I can hardly wait to tell you about it!
More entries: October 2012
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