Thursday, April 30, 2015

Re-meeting HPAC

The orchestra is so tired.  While I was in America they did a two-week tour in Japan.  It takes a lot of energy to travel and to be around the same people all the time.  There is no time to practice, little time to be alone, little time to really take in the place where one is staying.   There are lots of parties because it's sort of vacation, and so everyday is a bit hungover and the concerts start to drag and unravel in the wear of the journey.  People can get touchy, irritable, frustrated; alliances of friends build, become shaky, offenses and insecurities mount.  Jumping in, having been in America, some of these things seem to really stand out.  People are doing pretty well, all things considered.  There is a lot of fortitude and courtesy in the midst of it all.  But everyone seems really tired.  

Our soloist and leader this week is a French violinist who seems to be doing everything he can to extract musicianship from the oversized string section he's been required to use for three Bach concerti and Vivaldi's Four Seasons.  Everything he says ends with an upward intonation and stress, "oK!"  "We start from zee beginnING!" "I will play meajhour twentysree for YOU!"  And it is always so enthusiastic, with a spritely smile.  It's a lot to put together seven concerti in a little more than a day of rehearsal and with a travel-worn group.  It takes a lot to be able to play all that music, and amazing to also be responsible for preparing the orchestra.  And his energy and good spirit (and wonderful playing) is going a long way.  

Despite that–and perhaps because of the current lethargy of the group in contrast to the spontaneous and lively energy of our leader–coming back to the orchestra feels admittedly a little stale.  I wonder about this way of making music for me, about the notion of being a section player.  And likely it is the contrast of having just been in America, of having played a solo recital and on a radio program, of having interacted with a group of people with diverse interests.  It strikes me that at least in this orchestra, there is very little additional outlet for people to express themselves, to develop in a creative way, or have an individual identity.  And egos seem to be bouncing off the restrictive walls, trying to be in the center of attention or at the very least, to be worthy of survival.  Survival, but even this doesn't seem to be a thriving existence.  

Next week, the whole orchestra will have a break (minus the two people in the percussion section who will be doing a chamber music concert).  And perhaps people will have a chance to reconnect with something important to them, to reestablish, to recoup.  It seems so important to have this space, a space that is safe and free from others, that belongs only to oneself.  And in an orchestra, especially one of this nature, especially on tour, it can be a challenge to find it.  

It's interesting to be back in this close-knit world.  It's a rare place, and I think there is a lot to learn from it.

1 comment:

  1. Everything he says ends with an upward intonation and stress, "oK!" "We start from zee beginnING!" "I will play meajhour twentysree for YOU!" And it is always so enthusiastic... (I had to hold my sides!)