The insanity is over. I hardly dared say a word before it started. Last night my hired string quartet with me as first violinist gave its concert in my home. My good friend, teacher and "mentor" played cello, and I hired two Masters students from the Shepherd School to play second violin and viola. A carefully selected audience of 11 listened while we performed Beethoven Opus 59 No. 1.
We had rehearsed 5 times before the performance including a dress rehearsal on Friday. My co-players were excellent and very patient. If a market existed for supporting vanity performances they could have careers in it. There were moments in preparation that felt quite desperate. The day of the performance was agony. What kind of fool makes their debut performance on one of Beethoven's Rasumovsky quartets? Is this my "retirement"? What if the dreaded bow chatter starts? I had taken some precautions. No non-family musicians were invited. No one I felt a need to impress was invited. I had practiced for hours. I had practiced playing from the score. I had marked every difficult finger pattern. I knew the length of every shift a fourth or greater. My wife bought a banana for just before the performance but I forgot to go back to the kitchen and eat it.
So how did it go? Generally fine. I felt reasonably satisfied. We never had to stop although we did have one fairly significant "adjustment" (hopefully mostly invisible to the audience) and a couple of small ones (probably all my fault but if I knew exactly what I did wrong I wouldn't have done it wrong.) Bow chatter was minor and only occurred a little on the several bar long high c in the first movement. The cellist thought that the last movement tempo was reckless and dangerous but I thought it was exciting. We managed fine. The slow movement slowed down a bit too much.
Anyway its over and I will not be retiring. I don't think that I will be expanding the size or scope of my audience. It was a bit expensive but I can splurge once a year. Next year we'll do something easier.
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More entries: March 2009
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