What anxiety dreams tell us?

While in that fertile last hour of morning sleep before the alarm went off th other, I had strange and troubling dream.

I’ve been trying to allow a bit of time lately to go back through pieces I’ve conducted this year using my own parts and make some small revisions, particularly to a few bowings.

This particular  morning, I dreamt that somehow, I had overlooked revising Beethoven 4, which I did in July,  and that suddenly, my whole professional and artistic future hinged on handing out parts with the “perfect” bowing for the main theme of the first movement in 30 minutes (in the dream, some industry power figure was going to decide whether or not to let me have a festival orchestra in Lucerne based on this issue).

In the dream, I feverishly sat at the desk, erasing errant markings, then sprinted back to the cello to try things out, playing the first violin part in several different octaves and fingerings to get a better sense of whether the bowing is affected by string changes.

 I woke up in quite an agitated mood.

Sad, isn’t it?

I haven’t gotten the parts out yet, but I’ve been mulling this question ever since (the whole dream focused on only one bowing issue). Up-down (Beethoven’s original, currently in the parts but somewhat whinged about by a couple players this summer), down-up (I do love backwards bowings) or down-nnnnn (the preference of the more economical/lazy player)?

One thing I can still count on- whatever bowing ends up on those parts, someone will try to change it.

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About the author

American conductor, composer and cellist Kenneth Woods is Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Colorado MahlerFest and cellist of the string trio Ensemble Epomeo. He records for the Avie, Somm, Nimbus, Signum, MSR and Toccata labels.

Learn about Kenneth at www.kennethwoods.net

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