24 01 2009

After almost 3 years on the drawing board (or to be more accurate, on my hard disk), my Violin Concerto is finally complete.

Today, The Orchestra gave it a bit of a dry run. There were quite a number of surprises: the timpanist kept getting lost (a first!), people who migrated to different sections were shocked by the difficulty of their parts (it’s more like they didn’t bother to look at their parts during the week, hence the difficulty), and Sharie, our soloist, shocked everyone by her white-knuckled interpretation of the cadenza in the third movement.

“Ok, what’s a cadenza?” I hear someone ask. A cadenza is basically a section in the piece where the soloist is allowed to “show off”; the orchestra stops (I mean stops…completely), and the soloist lets it rip. Historically, most composers wrote cadenzas for their soloists – the cadenzas by Beethoven, Mozart, and Mendelssohn come to mind – but the basic idea is to let the soloist come-up with their own.

Of course, coming-up with one’s own cadenza is no trivial matter – you have to match your virtuosic flight with the style of the piece, making sure that it sounds like it belongs in the piece – hence the practice of the classical composers of composing their own cadenzas.

I chose to do the same in my concerto – the goal was to make the piece sound difficult and impressive, without actually making it difficult. But Sharie…ah, Sharie – her performance was so…so…furious, so…intense…so…blindingly fast that everyone, including myself, was floored – we had to pick our jaws off the floor afterwards. During the break, most of the members decided to stay in their seats and practice their parts, having witnessed this astonishing display of violin brilliance…it made you want to play better.

Oh, it wasn’t perfect – she still needs to work on the accuracy of her shifts, especially when they involve multiple stops, but the weight of intent, how each note seemed to launch from her violin on rocket engines…I…I’ve run out of words to describe it.

But its all quite funny when, after stunning the orchestra to silence (and inspiring the jaded principal of the 2nd violins to study the solos more carefully), she asks for help on her homework in physics. Marco made himself very useful all of a sudden. Hehehe 😉

Later in the afternoon, my pastor asked me to perform at the Pergola, a small mall in a nearby village. I confess (shamefacedly) that I was irritated by the short notice – my usual experience performing on short notice was that they usually ended in disaster. Still, I agreed.

Turns out I was going to perform with Ceifra, a group of Brazillian missionaries who used performance arts (dance and drama) to spread the gospel. I suddenly felt so ashamed of my attitude – what I had judged as another example of exploitation by the church (a common occurance) turned out to be an opportunity to use music to say something I believed in.

I remember feeling very small afterwards, and not in a good way. I wondered if I was the only one going through life with this perpetual feeling of inadequacy, never really being sure of myself.

And then I watched the missionaries and their skits. The messages were poignant but also familiar – but the music…their music gave me pause. The themes were…beautiful…and suddenly it was as if I could hear the stars in the sky singing – a high, sweet sound that just seemed to overwhelm me into repentance…if you know what I mean. They left me with an idea which I’m going to try and turn into a cello suite or concerto someday.

I was roundly introduced to the organizers of the event, and the various tenants of the establishments in the mall…nearly everyone there knew my pastor and/or his wife, and soon I was munching on pizza, then a whole seafood dinner, on the house. It was only then that I realized that many of the event organizers were the parents of students at a school where I teach on Thursdays – there were more than a few students from there milling about the place.

Before heading home, I found myself being asked to consider the possibility of performing again on a regular basis – or to hold master classes (WHOA!) – and to involve my students. Not to mention I was in the position to gain sponsorships for The Orchestra’s 5th Anniversary concert (basically, I need to feed, and feed well, the 60+ performers on that day – sponsorships is the way to go).

As I told The Cat earlier this evening (please forgive me if I now address my friends using pseudonyms – it’s an anti-stalker measure): It’s funny how the circles of my life are overlapping under my nose.

I must shake my head in wonder, smile my crooked, thoughtful smile… and give thanks.




4 responses

25 01 2009

…having witnessed this astonishing display of violin brilliance…it made you want to play better.

Haha this is true. Sharie’s really good. She can dramatically play your Violin Concerto. When I first saw the parts, I thought it was just a simple piece. But when the parts were played together, the music kept playing in my head! Siiir I can’t minimize the volume of my memory radio…the music is still in my head. I can’t sleep because of your Violin Concerto T_T Noooh T_T

26 01 2009

i’d tease and get away with it since your readers don’t know who i am, but they know you, so i’ll be considerate. i’m just leaving a comment for you to know i wanted to tease. you know what i’m talking about. hehehe!

1 02 2009

siiiirrrrrrr nakakinggit :((((((((((((((((((((((((((

4 02 2009

sir cool ng piece oh

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