The boy and I had a terrific day today. I think we both needed it. We drove HRH to work and did a couple of hours’ worth of errands on the way home (we now have a drying rack, huzzah, but we do not have cornmeal, which meant I couldn’t make the polenta I was craving). Then Sparky asked to watch a movie while I put away groceries and made him lunch. His nap lasted somewhere between two and two and a half hours, which gave me plenty of time to read a chunk of Sarah Monette’s The Virtu as well as play the cello for an hour. Just for kicks I’ve decided to start learning the second solo cello line of Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Celli in G minor (RV 531 if you are a music geek, as I am), so I played through that and did remarkably well, although I discovered that I didn’t know the timing as well as I thought I did, nor the correct stresses and musical phrasing in certain places. Also, holy sixteenth notes that feel like thirty-seconds! Playing them at speed just isn’t going to happen just yet.
Then I played through a bunch of band stuff, proved to myself that I can actually play the solo from Enter Sandman (contrary to the evidence supplied by my performance on May 19), worked on my tone during Moon Over Bourbon Street, played Wheat Kings because I love the long tones, and really worked The Bonny Swans riffs. There just is no pretty technical way to play the first call and response phrase; I tried it in three different position combinations and there’s no way to win. It has to be the way I first worked it out because as awkward as the shift is, the alternate positions are even more awkward. Still, I worked that shift and the tone, and yeah, I can make it sound good. In fact, all of it sounded a lot better than I thought it would after not playing any of it since the gig, almost four months ago.
I am rather pleased: this marks the second time this week I’ve sat down and played. I’ve really ignored the cello this summer, partially because I am lazy, but also because the fretless bass is shiny and siren-like. Not that I’ve played Eva a heck of a lot either, but she’s easier to grab and mess about with than Adele is. However, I’ve played Adele at least an hour every couple of weeks, so she hasn’t been completely ignored. And really, I’ve been quite happy with my tone, too, and the quality of sound I’m pulling from her. I believe orchestra will be back in session next week, and I’m glad I won’t completely embarrass myself in whatever we end up playing. (Apart from whatever understandable embarrassment arises from sightreading things, naturally.)
Anywhats, yes, much with the cello playing while the boy napped. I heard him mumble an hour and a half into the nap while I played the Swans riffs and thought I’d woken him, but evidently he only surfaced for a moment and rolled over because I didn’t hear him again for another hour. And when I walked in to get him he was sitting in bed with a book, and said, “Oh, hi, Mama, I’m reading now.” “Oh, okay,” I said, “you just let me know when you’re ready to get up, then.” So I went back to chopping and frying the onions for the lasagna, and he didn’t call me back for another ten minutes. We made the lasagna together, the boy eating grated mozzarella and broken bits of uncooked lasagna noodles while standing on a kitchen chair supervising me. ( “Where go the noodles?” he said as I covered them with sauce, exactly the way he plays the Where’s Liam? game. “They’re under the sauce.” “Ah, otay, I see,” he said. Glad we’ve got all that straight, Sparky. Can we move on to the next layer now?)
Lasagna assembled, we hit the road to go pick HRH up, and treated ourselves to iced cappuccinos and doughnut holes on the way home. They were a comfort in the abysmal traffic and the August-like humidity that has returned to haunt us after a lovely cool week. Did I mention that everyone and their dog has returned to school? People are cluttering up my roads. That’s the one drawback to having the car while HRH is at work: we have to go pick him up at the end of the day and it’s lots of traffic both ways, being rush hour, and the boy gets very upset at being in the car for an hour and a half. Can’t blame him; I’m usually deeply unimpressed with the experience myself.
So, a good day all around. Tomorrow I will work on the Vivaldi novel again.