Oy wey, I feel guilty, haven’t written in such a long time, and now I am writing without having anything specific to say. This will be probably the shortest blog ever on this page, but somehow I have to justify its existence, and since some people seem to read it, I don’t want to stop without at least trying to keep writing at least once a month. I just finished playing another Elgar performance in the very charming little city of Madison – I think it wasn’t a bad performance, but somehow I didn’t feel the closest of all connections with the audience; there was quite some coughing in the first minutes of the piece, and I guess it’s my upbringing to look for the blame in myself. I didn’t manage to engage them and draw them in with what I had to say with the music which resulted in the fact that they weren’t quite with me.What can one do if one realizes that? Start throwing some antics at them? No way, bad idea, even though it might do the trick, but I tried to just give as much intensity and emotion as I could to make the coughers be silent, and maybe I am wrong, but I think it worked later on. The orchestra did a wonderful job sticking with me and I can’t wait until tommorrow after having done some more thinking about the beginning, what to do to surprise the audience and take them with me from the start. Well, some might say, it wasn’t my fault, it was just bad atmosphere, maybe the weather was too cold and people were sick – my answer is NO! It is the performer who can create a breathless atmosphere in which nobody dares to make a noise, but it is very hard and doesn’t happen to often.
Yes, shame on me, I didn’t listen to the second half of the program, but I didn’t feel like listening to another performance of the Planets by Holst (in the past year I heard it probably 6 times). Tommorrow I’ll listen, I always feel I owe it to the colleagues in the orchestra and I think it’s arrogant to ignore the fact that there is a second half and another piece after “my” big thingy.
After playing almost too many concerts in the first half of the year, I am quite lucky that my schedule of September and October is rather light; this gives me the chance to build our nest in the new home, and it is coming along real well. I unpacked my last box right before leaving back to the States, having worked a couple of times until 4 am in the morning trying to organize and sort out things. I parted with many books which I felt weren’t worth keeping – three boxes filled with books went to charity, because I couldn’t stand throwing them away. This would almost feel like the burning of the books in 1935 (?) by Hitler’s people in Germany – for me books are almost something sacred, and I am unable to throw a book in the garbage, even if it’s the paper-recycle-garbage 🙂 CD’s I have not problem to throw away, especially bad recordings, but books? Never!
This morning I did a little outreach thing at a school nearby Madison, and it was funny for me to see how much more comfortable I feel now in front of a group of 15-year-olds. I used to be completely afraid, waiting for them to show signs of liking me, and now I don’t care anymore – I feel very much at ease playing some music for them and telling them things about me/cello/music/life of a travelling musician etc. even without being asked too many questions (in that age they are starting to get more self-conscious, afraid to make fools of themselves by asking something silly). But funny enough – I felt while playing for these highschool-students a better connection to my audience than tonight at the beautiful new concert hall here in Madison (it’s called the Ouverture hall – some wonderful man had given 210 Mio. Dollars to the city to build a new concert hall, and it is an impressively gorgeous hall). They did a wonderful job listening, evenÂ though I didn’t feel on top of my game soooo early in the morning (no, wasn’t early, I just hadn’t had breakfeast yet).
Funny enough I am doing tons of single trips to America this fall; Kitchener/Waterloo in mid-September, Rhode Island at the end, now Madison, and on Nov 10 I am flying to Boston to do a Dvorak with Boston Symphony (how exciting, I love that hall there, and the orchestra is wonderful anyway) – I am being asked sometimes why I am doing these single trips, and the answer is very easy: I don’t suffer jetlag, and if my manager would connect the concerts, it would mean that I would have after each engagement with an orchestra at least 3 days off, because the concerts are most of the times on weekends, and I am only needed for rehearsals the day before the first concert, which is sometimes not until Thursdays or even Fridays. So I prefer flying back home, even if it means crossing the Atlantic Ocean (yes, I know, it is a environmental disaster this kind of attitude, and maybe I should start rethinking it…), just to be with my little family… 🙂
Now I have to run back to the hall, second half is over, and I am invited for some wine-tasting with some cheese – yeah!!