The Ninth is going to sound fantastic. I don’t think I’m going back for the Bruckner Mass in F minor in May, though. I just can’t keep up; I’m not good enough. It’s been a terrific challenge, but I don’t have the time to devote to Cantabile as well as chamber orchestra. Besides, they’ve scheduled the four Bruckner rehearsals on Sunday afternoons yet again, and I’m tired of having to miss or skip out halfway through classes I’m supposed to be teaching.
I know I have a bad habit of underestimating my talents and skills, but last night’s rehearsal was embarrassing and depressing. The technical expertise required in the fourth and first movements are just beyond my current abilities. The entire section agrees that the technical challenge is above what they’re usually called on to do (and I can just imagine what Beethoven’s musicians must have said to him), but they still manage to pull off a significant percentage of the required work. I feel clumsy and klutzy, and I wonder what I’m actually contributing to the orchestra. Too often I lose my hold on what I’m doing and end up sitting there helplessly, trying to figure out where the heck we are, and where I can next come in with some sort of confidence.
There’s a difference between undervaluing yourself, and knowing that you’re just not quite good enough. If I had the luxury of time to really focus on working the music, I might stay on. With my schedule the way it is, however, I think it’s better all around if I focus my energies on chamber orchestra, teaching, and the slew of editing work.
I gave this a really good shot, and I’m proud of the fact that I did it. I adored the Puccini, and the Elgar was a bear but I mostly pulled that off too. I think back to how I felt when I joined chamber orchestra, and I stuck through that because my awkward playing was due to nerves and being tremendously shy. The technical challenges are different there (chamber vs symphonic!), and I do really well. I passed the nerves and new-girl shyness quite a while ago in Cantabile. I know I’m not where I ought to be in order to perform adequately.
It’s been fun, though. And the actual performance of the Ninth will be phenomenal, despite my fumblings.