This is going to be short one. Why? Because it was a good concert, nothing went horribly wrong, and I walked out feeling fine. No deep observations or life-changing moments; it was just a good concert.
The really noteworthy thing was an audience member standing up as the final applause died, asking us to play the ‘just beautiful’ second movement of the Haydn symphony again. We played it for him. It was a lovely way to end the evening.
I was somewhat concerned about the audience’s potential reception of the Peer Gynt suite, because it’s one of those stereotypical pieces of classical music — everyone’s heard Morning and In the Hall of the Mountain King, after all, and has an opinion about it whether they consciously know it or not. In the end what seems to have happened is what I was hoping for: everyone knows these pieces from recordings or as cartoon soundtracks, and so hearing a full orchestra play them is a completely different experience. It’s much more complex and rich. And they got to hear one of my favourite pieces from the suite, Ã…se’s Death, which is beautiful and very moving. There was music committed in that particular bit. (There was music committed all over the place last night, really; Valse Triste, for example.)
The clarinet soloist blew everyone away (no pun intended). He’s fourteen. Yikes.
There was a minor kerfuffle in our cello section after the warm-up, and it’s got me thinking about the interpretation of the word ‘amateur’. In my mind, being an amateur doesn’t mean you get to show any less respect to your fellow musicians, the conductor, or the audience than a professional would or does. Even as an amateur one approaches music and one’s colleagues seriously, with consideration and commitment. Being an amateur is no excuse for laziness. I think there may be more to say on the subject, but it needs to brew in my mind for a while.
The emergency-glued bow frog survived the night, thank the gods. I did the dress rehearsal with the heavy bow, and I hated it. My principal looked at it and told me that the main problem was the weight distribution, so she suggested wrapping an elastic band around the frog and tucking a quarter inside to help redistribute the weight. It helped a bit, but I really do prefer my main bow. I kept the heavy bow with me in case the emergency fix fell apart in concert, though. I’m somewhat afraid to get the frog replaced on my main bow, as I don’t know what it will do to the weight or balance of it.
Other noteworthy things that happened which were not music-related: I got to meet Tallis (who was beautifully behaved), and we received the chocolate mint Girl Guide cookies we’d ordered.
Thank you to Jeff, Paze, Devon, Tallis, Ceri, Scott, Daphne, and HRH for coming out to support us, and to Blade for babysitting. (Poor HRH only arrived halfway through the Peer Gynt suite and two movements before the break, as the boy had had a late nap and thus his bedtime was late too.)