It is 3 am, I just finished packing my suitcase and can’t even think about sleeping since the performance a couple of hours ago of the Second Shostakovich Concerto was rather disturbing for me. My 8-year old son Janos said of the second movement, that it was scary – and so was more or less the whole concerto. I felt incredibly sad while playing – don’t know if it was the music itself, my pitiful playing or the presence of my poor ailing mother in the first row (must have been the first time she ever sat so close).
Actually, this is now really false modesty – I felt pretty good about the performance, no major mishaps and at least to me it felt rather intense and “deep”. But again, who knows, often us musicians think we are doing something special while the audience is falling asleep. Anyway, about 45 minutes before the concert started – I was just changing at home into my concertclothes – my US manager called and asked if I was up to replacing Ha-Na Chang with a solorecital in Montreal this Sunday.
I asked her to give me until after the concert to think about it. Kodaly Solosonata and two Bachsuites shouldn’t be a problem, played it so many times, but I was looking forward to a nice weekend with my son Janos; we have tickets for Berlin’s Basketball team versus Moscou, and on Sunday two tickets for the theater, the Persians by Aischylos. Besides that I was planning to practice a lot and do a bike tour with the little man.
At the same time I am not only a musician but also somebody who loves challenges, and last-second replacements (well, I’ll arrive 24 hours before the concert in Montreal and only then I’ll be able to practice for the concert) are always fun, because the challenge of preparing in the very last second with travelling involved releases so much Adrenalin, that one probably could get high from it.
But now, tickets bought and concert confirmed, I am suddenly doubting my decision; I completely forgot that the next week is actually really stressful for me: Rococo Variations with Leipzig Gewandhaus (and radio) while rehearsing in Cologne for a Dvorak Concerto with the GÃ¼rzenich and the excellent German conductor Markus Stenz, whom I know since quite some years, but it will mark our first collaboration. That means I will have already lots of flying back and fourth between Leipzig and Cologne, and no time to actually prepare the stuff for November (Britten, Pintscher, SchÃ¶nberg). Was this now a bad decision, completely overestimating my own resources, or will I rather strive on the pressure and the stress of running back and fourth? And the music? Will it suffer, will I play like an exhausted, hunted down little animal?
Well, I am definitely not proud of that choice, and time will tell if it was damaging to me (and my playing) or not. More later…