Daily Archives: May 17, 2004

Some Extra Guidelines for my Cat, by Rosie

Dear Cat,

Recently, you have begun to bring mice into the house. It seems to me that perhaps, when we first praised you for this activity, we didn’t make it perfectly clear that the praise was due, in the most part, to the fact that the mouse in question was actually dead. Bringing live prey into the house, only to drop them and chase them half-assedly around the lounge, while we, The Humans, shut doors, move furniture and floor-things, and even pick you up and put you in the same corner as the mouse while you stare fixedly at the place the mouse was, like, five minutes ago – that’s not good.

In future, either:
a) bring dead prey (rodent, not bird) into the garage, only, and place on doormat
b) refrain from bringing any other form of prey into the house or garage
c) if a prey-creature “suddenly comes alive again” (whatever!) when you are bringing it inside, pay attention to where it is, and rectify the situation as rapidly as possible.

Regards,

Rosie

(found over at Slightly Bewildered)

Concert Review May 2004

A glorious concert last night! I had a wonderful time, which is just as important as the audience enjoying themselves. The church had beautiful acoustics. One never knows what to expect when one plays in a new venue; and it stuns me how so many similarly-structured churches can have such wildly varying acoustic qualities. This one is one of the best I’ve played in so far. The sound was full, well-rounded and rich. The orchestra really pulled together to create two wonderfully moody and ambient pieces, Grieg’s “Evening in the Mountains” and Delius’ impressionistic “On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring.” I’d been worried about them, mainly because our conductor was disappointed with how we’d played the Grieg in dress rehearsal, and because the Delius was so very different from anything we’d played before that everyone was having trouble wrapping their minds around the rhythm and melody. The two Mozart pieces which opened and closed the programme were tight and snappy. Overall I was remarkably pleased with how well I played, too. It’s always rewarding to appreciate one’s own performance as well as the overall product. Apart from a slightly sharp first violin, and the shaky fugue in the final movement of the Mozart symphony, it was one of the most technically sound concerts we’ve ever presented.

While waiting for our call to go in, I had the opportunity to chat with two other cellists about the programme and our dwindling audience base. I’m of the opinion that our first conductor and founder did a lot of networking on a personal level and pulled people in that way, as since his death our audiences have slowly ebbed. My fellow celli think that it also has something to do with the oddness of the programmes we offer: the music is either too hard, and our performance is less than stellar, which doesn’t encourage people to come back; or the selections are not well-known. I’m all for a balanced programme of familiar favourites and new pieces — while the Mozart symphony was probably the piece that drew audience members, the Delius, for example, was something the orchestra had never heard, which pretty much confirmed that 99.9% of the audience hadn’t either; but it was beautiful, I’m glad to have learned it, and I hope the audience appreciated hearing a new piece as well.

I know that I resist gearing up and heading out to orchestra quite a bit, and having played three times in the past five days I wish we could rehearse twice a week. It’s easier to stay in the swing of things that way. The more I play, the more I want to play. And hey, we’d be even better with twice as much practice. After all, I’m fairly certain that most of the orchestra doesn’t practice at home either. Damn it all, if I’m this good playing only once a week, if I practiced, I’d be spectacular.

It occured to me as we stood for our applause after the Strauss last night that as of mid-July, I will have been playing cello for nine years. That’s between a quarter and a third of my life.

Many, many thanks to my four guests who came out to hear us play, and to poor Ceri as well, who showed up with her classical music guidebook but had to go home with an evil migraine. I’ll lend you my rehearsal CD, Ceri, and you can pretend you’re there. I’d play you my parts but without everything else they sound rather odd.