Daily Archives: July 2, 2007

Post-Concert Thoughts

A huge thanks to everyone who made it out to the concert last night. There were stalwart supporters there as well as unexpected faces. It was wonderful to see you all, and I hope you enjoyed yourselves. It was great to have my five-year-old goddaughter there, pepped up on gummy worms and thoroughly excited about the night. “I get to hear Autumn play her cello — then there will be fireworks!” she was heard to exclaim. It’s nice to be ranked up there with the pyrotechnics. She came racing up to give me a flying hug when we were done, and I asked her if she liked the music. “I liked it, but I liked yours the best!” she told me. (Because, you know, the five-year-old ears of a godchild can pick your line out of everything else. It’s part of the godparent magic and mystique.)

As is becoming more and more common in concerts, time flowed away from me as we played: I closed the Water Music suite (hereafter to be referred to as the Linen Chest suite) to see the music of the Les Miz medley and thought, Oh, are we already at the end? I spent most of that time trying to focus. The cello zone was unattainable last night. Every once in a while I managed to achieve the headspace of ‘Hey, this is kind of pretty’, which was always immediately followed by ‘Oh, damn; so much for that’. There are concerts that I walk out of feeling fabulous. This was not one of them. Which is not to say the concert went badly — apart from two timing/wrong entry errors, it went well — or that I played abysmally — I was adequate (not as on as I’d have liked but that came from not being able to focus). I just didn’t enjoy myself very much. I kept trying to be in the moment, and simply couldn’t. (Although sure enough, I found myself using different fingering on the fly last night and consequently fumbled.)

There are three aspects of a concert experience, I realised as I discussed it with friends afterwards. My personal experience (or any individual player’s experience); the orchestra’s experience as a unit; and the audience’s experience. (There’s probably a separate conductor’s experience too, now that I think about it.) What I experience and feel about my performance is not necessarily the orchestra’s overall experience, and certainly does not signal or predicate the audience’s experience. And that’s important. I’m glad I can leave a concert that I felt neutral about and hear that audience members enjoyed themselves.

People gave us a standing ovation before we started. That was nice. Unnecessary and perhaps a bit over-enthusiastic (or optimistic, I’m not certain), but nice.

This will certainly go down in my history as the coldest Canada Day concert ever. I shivered throughout the overture and the Mozartiana, even despite wearing stockings and shoes and heavier black clothes instead of the linen sheath and sandals that comprise my usual Canada Day concert garb. Attendance to the festivities in general seemed lower than usual, perhaps due to the cooler temperatures and the brief cloudburst that had hit late in the afternoon.

The fireworks were great, even though they were oddly paced (such is the risk with live pyrotechnic displays). We hung around at the end and were treated to a post-script display of all the ones that failed to go off in the original firing. It was clear that some of them were designed to be a backdrop to the finale. I saw styles of fireworks I’d never seen before, too, which was exciting, and as Karine says, made me feel like a kid again.

Well, there. That’s the end of this orchestral season, my sixth with this group. I wish I could have personally ended it on a better note (no pun intended — my intonation on that final A flat was excellent). It’s hard to walk away from something that climactic feeling flat.