Excellent, excellent rehearsal last night, despite my apparent inability to approximate correct intonation, and the sudden feeling that I’d never seen the symphony before in my life (this is particularly unnerving as I’ve played it previously in concert, as well as working on it these past three months). “Well,” the conductor said to me, “at least it’s… fresh.” He has a quirky sense of humour that I enjoy. I keep forgetting to record this: a few weeks ago we had a string-only rehearsal, and at one point we all sat there counting bars as he conducted a winds-only passage in silence. “This part was written by John Cage,” he said almost under his breath before we came in precisely where we were supposed to. I might have been the only person to hear him, or maybe I’m just the only one who found it funny.
This concert is, as usual, going to rock. And the weather isn’t going to be horrendous: at the moment Sunday looks like around 20 degrees and overcast. Let’s hear it for concerts at which no one melts! (Miss the announcement? Check back to this entry for all the details.)
Things I must drill into my head: I must not spontaneously decide to try a new fingering in the middle of performance. No, no, no. No matter how good an idea it seems at the time. Not that I think this sort of thing through; sometimes I just find myself with my hand on a different part of the fingerboard and I freeze with no idea how to get to the next note, and then three bars have gone by and where are we now, and being in fourth position would explain why when I played a 3 it didn’t sound like a 3 in first does, and how long was I playing in fourth position anyway? (And again I express my amazement — fourth? Fifth, okay, I could understand — but fourth?)
Tomorrow I sit down with my coloured markers and underline dynamic markings that I miss, write in easy fingerings and shifts that I always mess up (and the hard ones too), and highlight nasty key changes (the Les Miz medley is going to look like a bloody rainbow).
Rehearsal was the high point of two very bad days. I usually come home from rehearsal mildly frustrated with my inability to pull off things I know I can do, but I came home in a really positive mood last night that was extremely welcome after the day. And then I didn’t sleep (probably because of the bad day; I read half of Gaudy Night waiting to be tired). Liam didn’t sleep well either so today both of us were off, and he didn’t nap at all today. When this happens to the kid who regularly sleeps between two and two and a half hours, it’s a hugely bad thing. We went to the Chapters in Pointe-Claire for an hour or so where he played with the Thomas the Tank Engine table in the kids’ section, and I bought a book he pointed out to me while wandering about ( “Cello! Cello!”), called The Violin Maker: Finding a Centuries-Old Tradition in a Brooklyn Workshop by John Marchese. Which is what I’m off right now to read in bed with a glass of white wine and a square of Ghiradelli chocolate with caramel filling, because life has sucked lately and I deserve it.