Weekend Roundup: Cello Recital Edition

I’m swamped. I’m racing a huge deadline, both HRH and I were ill this weekend and yesterday, there are no Christmas decorations up (although we did turn the outside lights on about ten days ago), Christmas shopping is only half-done (it will be pretty much finished in one trip if I can just ever leave the house again in good health, no deadlines, and decent weather). I’ve torn the house apart looking for my binder of non-lesson, non-orchestra music that holds all my Christmas stuff and I can’t find it anywhere, which means I have to reconstruct all my Christmas stuff from scratch before our annual Yule music celebration on Sunday. There is no food in the house. Being sick and handling the fibro thing is really, really throwing a spoke in my Christmas wheel.

I’m simultaneously exhausted and climbing the walls. It doesn’t help that I mis-evaluated my current freelance project, which turned out to need about three times more editing than the sample I examined suggested it would, so my schedule has been blown to bits. I pulled off 125 pages yesterday despite feeling dreadfully ill, which is about half again as fast as my usual top speed, and burnt myself out so that I had to cancel a planned visit yesterday evening. I have another 125 to go today if I want to keep Wednesday morning for a final proofread and scan to make sure I haven’t done anything horrendously stupid. Then, I think, I will fall over. Or perhaps stay in bed for an entire twenty-four hours, because I’m having trouble making it through a basic day.

There’s a lot of snow, and it just keeps coming. It’s a good thing it’s pretty.

Saturday morning we had our dress rehearsal for the Christmas recital. I expected our usual dress rehearsal system, which was playing the solos as well as doing our group pieces, but we just worked on the group pieces. I understand why we did it — there are thirteen students now! — but I was a bit worried about my gavotte. I got home around quarter past one and HRH headed out to run errands. We had Ceri, Scott, and Ada over that afternoon for a movie and dinner, which was wonderful. The boy read both his Lego readers and a board book to Ada afterwards, who quieted down and listened, bless her. There was a moment at the beginning where she was fussing and the boy closed his book on his lap and calmly said, “I’m not going to read until you stop crying,” which is obviously something that he used to hear at preschool, but somewhat inappropriate for a tiny baby! It was explained to him that she would calm down if he read, so he opened the book again and everything went beautifully.

The recital was on Sunday. For the first time we rented a small church, because we no longer fit into the seniors’ residence we used to play at. The acoustics were phenomenal; even the tiny cellos, which usually have problems with amplification, were resonant and clear. I was worried about the order of the pieces. In the past we’ve opened with group pieces and then interspersed solos throughout the programme. This time, the first half of the programme was soli, and the second half was all group pieces. I was concerned about not being warmed up by the time my solo came up, but it turned out fine. I started oddly slowly, perhaps because I was subconsciously taking into account the fact that one usually plays too fast live, but I picked up the pace when the initial theme was repeated before the development and second theme. I was pretty happy with how it went. Midway I was starting to be unhappy with slightly imprecise intonation but I remembered something my teacher had told me at the last lesson, mainly that even if intonation is off by a fraction, it isn’t necessarily audible to the audience by the time the sound has travelled within the space, and even with that slight imprecision the piece had been pleasant to listen to at the lesson.

The response I got was really heartening. I had strangers asking me how long I’d been playing and how many certificates/grades I held, which was just odd to hear. The boy told me, unprompted, that I had been awesome. I had my dear friend Marc there in the audience for more support, who enjoyed himself immensely, too. It was a very nice afternoon. The group pieces went well, too, although the arrangement of the Haydn Op. 76 no. 3 movt. 2 felt a bit muddy. All the Christmas stuff was jolly and resonant. The arrangement of Silent Night was lovely, and I think the Greensleeves seven-part arrangement was all right, but I can’t be sure.

I finally finished spinning the last of the first 2 oz of the yellow/orange Polworth in stupidly thin threadlike laceweight singles. I am going to do some nice chunky, squooshy singles from some Merino in Blue Bells before I have to spin the last 2oz of Polworth. Someone remind me of this the next time I decide to spin laceweight to get as much yardage as possible out of something, okay?

That’s the single on the bobbin and across the right penny for size comparison, and on the left is a look at how it will look when plied with the as-of-yet unspun second single. This is the finest single I’ve ever spun with success for an extended period of time.

I really need to get to work now. Wish me luck.

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