Wednesday, September 3, 2014

My Italian Stand Partner (and Toyooka)

The guest principal cellist arrived today and took his place leading the cello section.  It is one of the learning experiences of HPAC that we get to work with so many guest players.  This gentleman is from Italy and has very different style of playing that most certainly made me feel Midwestern.  I tend to stray from using open strings when possible, feeling that the brashness of it is too stark a color change, and I also tend not to put fingerings into orchestra music because I don't want to infringe on my stand partner's fingering choices.  I work to blend my sound, at the sacrifice of a solo sound with lots of vibrato and punch.

My stand partner is a force for me to aspire to.  Every fingering is written into his music so I know exactly how he thinks about fingerings.  He makes liberal use of open strings, sometimes even crescendoing to an open A!  His sound is strong, his choices clear and explicit, and he takes command of the section with incredible power.  All of these things are so contradictory to my playing it's almost humorous and a wonderful example for me to sit next to.  I have the opportunity to play exactly as he is playing, to mimic the colors that he chooses, the power he exerts, the speed of his vibrato and bow.  It will be an opportunity to put on a new hat, to become a different player for two weeks.  It means that the choices I make in the future will come closer to truly being choices and not habit or lack of imagination.  To accept the playing of another fully and bring that into the palette of possibilities is an exciting thing.

After rehearsal I came to my hotel room then took a short walk around part of Toyooka, a northern city in Hyogo Prefecture where we are having our opening festival.  It is a calm, simple seeming city.  The streets have room for more than they hold.  I found a green hill with a shrine.  It was deserted but for me and the cicadas.

path along a little stream;
a deserted home (?), fallen into ruins, something rarely seen in Japan

view from the hill

shrine gate

a massive building in the shrine, all by itself 

spider web

the other side of the hill and another side of Toyooka 

one of the main streets

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