Monday, October 11, 2010

R.I.P.

     Today I am recovering.  It was a long week, and an even longer weekend.  Rehearsals, concerts, and traveling.  And again.  And again.  At times, as I heard a concertmaster say, like the movie Groundhog Day. I think that says it all.
     My poor fingers, especially those of my left hand.  They have been telling me "You know, we are not young any more. We will do our best to comply, but some of this music is not just fast.....it is being conducted at a tempo WAY over the speed limit!  Why don't conductors get tickets!!!  We want a break!! Maybe we will go on strike!! "
     Fortunately my brain overruled my fingers and they complied.  But today they get a rest.  Sort of.....they are typing, but they get off the viola.  In tribute to them I have posted their picture below  It is a photo from their younger years.
     Fingers.  I love my fingers.  They were my toys when I was young.  Now they are my tools.  I am so very grateful for my hands.  I digress.....on to the concerts...
     Saturday I played a concert with Kenosha Symphony that included Prokofiev's Classical Symphony.  The outer movements of that piece are why my fingers get a day off.  While preparing I listened to various versions  to refresh my memory.  Fast, very fast...faster than I remembered.  And even faster in Kenosha.  It was at  breakneck (or break-finger) speed.
     I love this work, but it is difficult to play.  Along with extremely fast finger work there is lots of challenging work for the right hand and both arms.  The left arm shifts a great deal in some very fast passages.  It seems more like a third violin part....all violists should receive accolades for just getting through it with a cool head  and body intact!  Violinists just don't appreciate how much more difficult it is to do gymnastics on the viola.
     During the dress rehearsal something the conductor said clicked in my brain, and I had an "epiphany".  Hmmmmmmm...perhaps I am WORKING TOO HARD.  I was reminded, even after all my years of playing, that sometimes I need to step back, take a deep breath, cool it, and look at the big picture of what musical message is being sent.  In this case, it was one of lightness and humor....even a bit of silliness.  The "light bulb went on", and I knew I was supposed to have fun.  That was more important than "what if I miss a sixteenth note....!!".  So I cooled it and tried to enjoy the piece.
     It worked!  I also learned that the obscene speed actually enhanced the music in places.  During one passage I caught myself giggling because the music was laughing.
      I had a concert in Milwaukee yesterday. I was tired.  Very tired.  So tired I did not notice that my black hose were navy blue.  And I was sitting principal--everyone could see.
      It did not end there.  During a visit to the Ladies Room before the concert I apparently picked up a souvenir and brought it back with me.  I walked out on stage, sat down, and shortly after heard a section member discreetly inform me that I had toilet paper stuck on my leg.  Yup....white on black.
     To fully appreciate this you must read the following.  Many years ago friends, my husband and I watched the movie Junior starring Arnold Schwartzenagger and Emma Thompson.  The latter played a spacy scientist who in a dance scene comes back from the ladies room with toilet paper stuck on her shoe.  I recall that I was compared to that character.  That was something Christine would do.  Well, now I have done it.  So much for dignity.
     I could go on, but I am tired.  I must R.I.P.....especially my fingers......







    

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In addition to being a violist, I am a wife and mother (three sons). I dabble in writing, handwork, sewing and photography.