When I first started this blog, my hope was that it would help bring in some new audiences to the orchestras I conduct, and while it does get read by some very devoted members of the general public (the true, hard-core fanatics!), I think it’s probably morphed into something a little intense for Joe Public. While that may count as a small disappointment, I’ve been really delighted (and occasionally intimidated) to find out just how many of my colleagues in the various orchestras I work with read these pages (hello Surrey Mozart Players, who I’ll be seeing tomorrow).
One thing I’ve learned from them is that players do tend to look and see what I’ve written about our concert together after the fact, and some are not shy about reminding me if I’ve not written something.
“Hey Ken- you didn’t write anything about our concert, so how am I supposed to know how you thought it went?” someone might say….
“Err, ah….. well, you were there, and we went out afterwards and talked about the show for about four hours.”
“Yes, but that’s just what you said to me, not what you really mean.”
“So the blog is a repository of what I really mean, as opposed to my conversations?”
”No. The blog is mostly entertaining BS, but it’s what people think you really mean.”
“Who? Which people?”
“The ones who read it…””You mean like you?””No- the people who read it to find out what you thought of the concert. I was there, I don’t have to read it. I just thought you might have written something….”
Well take heart. The only reasons I don’t write about past concerts is because
1- I’m too effing tired to think for several days afterwards, by which time I’ve completely forgotten the event.
2- I feel self-conscious and silly trying to describe my own performances
3- I’m saving it for the book (heh, heh, heh…..). This is probably the case if it went spectacularly badly!
Still- I have to admit…. If I go to a concert, I’m much more likely to look for the review of it, so I can see why people who’ve played in one would want to read the post mortem of it here.
In fact, the last concert I went to led me to do more or less the same thing. Alban Gerhardt was in town last week playing with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Alban and I have never met or worked together, but we seem to keep tap dancing onto each others life paths. He was a student at CCM just before me, so we have many friends, chamber music colleagues and teachers in common (most importantly the Tokyo and La Salle quartets) and now he’s quite a regular in Cardiff. Anyway, I knew Alban had a blog, so- as you do- I checked it out to see what he thought of the concert. Sure enough, there’s an interesting and thoughtful write up here.
I loved his Dvorak, and everyone I talked to in the orchestra seemed to as well. The consensus was that he’d really made something very moving happen with the piece- several players confessed to watering up a bit on the last page- which is much more what it’s about than just the cello playing. The cello playing was pretty damn good, though- especially his chromatic octave scale in the first movement. In the moment before he started them, his endpin not only slipped, but the cello actually caught quite a bit of air, so Alban had to start them in mid-flight, and they were the best I’ve ever heard them live… Alban’s blog points out the difficulty of keeping this most beloved of cello pieces fresh- Rostropovich’s strategy was to charge $80,000 for a Dvorak and $5,000 for any other concerto. You can guess which one he still got asked to play the most….
Anyway- I had intended to say hi afterwards (and to say hi from several Cincinnati friends who wanted me to pass on wishes), but apparently playing first violin on the Bartok Concerto for Orchestra qualifies as tiring when you’re over 7 months pregnant, so my date and I made a swift exit.
I wonder how many friends at BBC NOW who saw me at the show will be checking in here to see if I had anything to say…..