Afterglow continues...

I keep trying to shift my focus to holiday shopping, and packing for our short trip to NYC for lots of singing around the piano, but find that I'm still hearing my piece in my head off and on, and dreaming about parts of it, and assimilating the rich experience I had attending rehearsals and then multiple performances of Celebration of the Deep.  My head and heart are so full of all that happened I'm finding it hard to write about!

Saturday's performance at the church was glorious, the overall best the piece has sounded; I was so pleased, and my Mom was proud!  My two sisters as well - it was grand to have my family come from Oneonta for the event.  Working out the kinks Friday night and Saturday during the run-through was the sort of fun challenge and on-the-spot problem-solving that I love.  All the musicians were doing all they could to give the music their best, hearing how the acoustics of the church needed to change how they played, assimilating the parts that they had not even heard until that point: percussion!

At the performance my heart was beating so fast through the first two pieces, I guess I was nervous about my piece.  When it started I could calm down.  That opening french horn line is so soothing!  And the way the piece built in tempo and intensity was like a dream come true.  I had thought I wanted the tempos to stay more consistent, and yet the way Cayenna directed it and the players performed it, the intensity I wanted seemed to flow naturally from the slight changes she made.  The players really went over the top at the climax in a very powerful way, the way she had asked them to - "play with exuberance, but don't lose it", or something like that she advised them.  And they did it beautifully, with the Call of the Deep in the brass and one horn, in the midst of all the musical activity, reminding us of home, of returning, of time for rest.

Then last Wednesday night was a performance at the Racker Center, where again instruments were missing - bass and percussion, only two first violins.  And yet my piece seemed to hold up well, I was very happy to hear it again, and sat right in front of the french horns.  Acoustically a very different space, but the orchestra adjusted well to it.

And there are lots of memories to cherish: Doing the interview with Cayenna down at WSKG, with Bill Snyder to promote the concert, and actually hearing from people who then attended the concert because they heard the interview.  Seeing my Mom following the score during the run-through on Saturday, and commenting to me "It's a complex piece".  Getting such affirming feedback from the audience members who enjoyed the piece, and helpful suggestions for how to give the piece a further life, beyond Ithaca.  Sitting in one of the empty first violin section chairs briefly at the Racker Center and being asked to join the Orchestra (on violin, of course!).

One comment I got was about loving the short bit of french horn / flute doubling towards the end, another was about the french horn / oboe doubling moment.  Several comments about how great to hear the french horns up close, and several comments about what I call the "lift-off" moment, how it made some people feel swelled up inside, or they felt the sound going through them and up through the tops of their heads.  This is the part that always made my younger sister cry (in a good way).

Such a collaborative effort musical performances are!  I am in awe of what another friend called the Miracle of it all.  The miracle of composing, and then the miracle of all the musicians putting in all the hard work to know what to do with the printed score (conductor and players alike), and the miracle of all the listeners who lend their attention, their ears, their caring, and openness to being affected.

I'm feeling big gratitude to everyone who participated in this miracle.  Thank you.


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