June 2005

June 23, 2005 14:18

Frustration, mixed with progress. I suppose that's the way it should go, isn't it? My frustration stems from the fact that I can never seem to perform as well as I think I should, but there's definitely progress. Even in just a couple of months, I can feel myself adjusting to my new violin and pushing it, and myself, further.

And then there's intonation. My intonation has always been pretty good, ever since my teacher pounded it into me. But when I'm not soloing regularly, it's hard to be picky enough to maintain it. And, the neck of the new violin is shorter, and therefore the half-steps different, so I still miss some of the shifting that should be automatic.

On the good side, I'm feeling very motivated by the fact that I desperately need to improve. More and more, I think I should find a teacher again and really, really work. Over the last couple of years I've been practicing more and more, and this spring has been nearly every day -- since the new fiddle, really. Sure, it's only about an hour a day on average, but honestly that's pretty good with a full work schedule!

Anybody out there want to give me money to live on, so I can practice all day? ;)

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June 20, 2005 10:34

I am suffused with beautiful music. As I go back to work today, the sensations of the weekend are gradually fading, but I'm much refreshed. I very much needed a vacation.

I was at the Kinhaven Adult Chamber Music session this past weekend -- an experience I would recommend to all amateur and semi-professional players. It's a camp, so the accomodations are somewhat primitive, but it's a gorgeous setting and so peaceful that (at least for me) it was so very comfortable. I wish I were still there!

I played three pieces: the first movement of the Mozart Viola Quintet in C, the scherzo from a Brahms Sextet (I forget the opus #) and a couple of movements from a Boccherini Cello Quintet. All were wonderful pieces of music, and such lovely people to play with. The idea, of course, is that you come together as an ensemble with a coach and over the course of three days, whip your pieces into shape with the coach's help. Then, there's an informal play-through at the end where you get to play your pieces, and also hear what everyone else has been working on. It's really amazing what kind of quality performances amateurs can put together! I took a recording of it all, and am really enjoying listening again to all these beautiful pieces.

I could really get used to that.

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June 13, 2005 08:21

It's a very small world, especially here in Vermont.

So, I was playing a contradance on Saturday evening up in the middle of nowhere (near my house, that is). Suddenly the guy at the head of the set turns to me and asks, "Are you Patty?" I nodded; at first I figured he'd seen something about the band. Then it dawned on me that I knew him -- and that I hadn't seen him in years. We exchanged the quick, "What are *you* doing here?", to which both of us then answered, "I live here!"

So, this guy that I went to high school with down in New York state (and haven't seen in 15 years) turns up in Rupert, Vermont at a contra dance (neither of us did any folk dancing in school). There's weirder things in the world, but I'm just amazed.

So, here's to getting back in touch with old friends!

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June 9, 2005 13:05

Last night we played quartets again. We've got a new cellist, of course, and she's just wonderful -- has a lovely tone and great facility, and is a real asset to the group.

It's hard, though, having her take the place that was so recently vacated. I'm not saying that we shouldn't play! We absolutely need to play, for all of us. But it's the little things that are strange -- Connie had this little endpin-stop that's quite ingenious -- it's a little wooden thing that's shaped like a flat cello and has a little hole for the spike, and it loops around the legs of the chair. It's pretty unique, and very much associated with her.

Of course the new cellist should use it. No sense in putting it out of sight! Use it, and remember Connie.

We had an absolutely wonderful time playing last night, Beethoven op. 59 no. 1, really working on the first movement. I think I could play that piece forever and not get tired of it! By the end of the evening it was sounding pretty satisfying, and there's so much left to it. We were very much playing as a group, too, with the right give-and-take.

Friends of Connie's are putting together a concert in her memory. So we play, and we think of her.

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