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Mendy Smith

The Music That Binds Us

September 12, 2011 at 1:47 AM

On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, I played music.  I did not play in a memorial concert, remembrance service, or any other similar event.  Instead I played German music with a lesbian Orthodox Jew.  

We met up a year ago through a program by one of our local pro orchestras promoting chamber music by organizing ensembles with coaching.  We quickly became friends through music despite our obvious differences in lifestyle and culture and committed to continue to practice together once the program was complete for the season.

This Sunday my cellist friend and I (both eyeglass wearers) had a light lunch and started working on Beethoven's "Two Eyeglasses".  We're working from a urtext version that has no bowings, fingerings, dynamic or tempo markings.  The whole interpretation is what we want to make out of it.  We are starting at a very slow tempo in order to discover for ourselves how our parts fit with each other and working in bowings and dynamics.  It is amazing how many possibilities there are when working with a blank slate.  

We never made it past the first half of the first page, but spent quite a bit of time working on having everything line up rhythmically and bowing-wise.  A good hour or so was simply spent discussing Beethoven's life and how it influenced his music, from his earliest works to his most profound symphonies and quartets when he was losing his hearing at the end of his life. 

It seemed fitting to focus on what binds us together on a day such as this one.  In another 10 years, who knows what I'll be playing and with whom.  The possibilities are endless...

From Tom Holzman
Posted on September 13, 2011 at 12:11 PM

Having endless possibilities for people to play with and music to play is one of the great joys of music-making.  Your wonderful blog sums up one aspect of why those of us who have chosen music should feel lucky.

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