My day started with a lesson with Luigi. Responsibility demanded that I play Dvorak concerto for him and at least one excerpt, and I obliged. I played through the exposition (longer than I had prepared for the day) and he had me go back to the top and start again. For the next 40 minutes he played with me, showed me different fingerings, made some suggestions here and there. I then played Heldenleben and he offered some comments on sound in various parts, use of vibrato and bow, trills.
I looked up at the clock and saw that we had ten minutes left. I could either continue on the responsible route of the Beethoven 5 excerpt that is asked on every cello audition, or I could do the exposition of Brahms F Major Sonata which I had just started the night before. When I mentioned the choice of the Brahms, he said in his emphatic Italian voice, "Ah, is so beautiful!" and started playing the opening. There was no turning back, it would have been the least musical thing to do.
And so we purged forth into Brahms, playing together, him singing or playing the piano part on his cello, and both of us smiling in the fun of it. "But don't rush," he said, "Is Allegro Vivace. Vivace is character. People think it is speed but is character." Vivace, with life. The thrill of playing. What's in a lesson?
Later that day we spent 4 hours rehearsing–and taking breaks from the rehearsal–to prepare for an evening TV recording. We played the first movement of Bruckner 4 with only the introduction and the recap, which gave a very strange false sense of victory. We also played a similarly cut 4th movement of the same piece; all in all, an hour of music reduced to the fifteen loudest minutes. The majority of the time we spent sitting on stage while the MC and Sado-san and various other important and unknown-to-me famous people talked to one another about the earthquake memorial this year. At one point in each of the two programs, we all had to raise our left hand and pretend to turn a huge page, saying, "Mekurimashou," which means, "Let's turn the page." I think this was similar to the Monty Python, "And now for something completely different." Or at least a way of moving the conversation forward. I would have been happy to do this more often. I started to wonder if talking lasts as long in English. Perhaps it's just my lack of comprehension.
It's unusual to have an evening performance and it means a night ride home, always something that demands more energy of activation. But like most things that are that way, it is often more than worth the effort. The days are long and getting shorter. So many experiences, so many things to see, hear, and do. Allegro Vivace.