Nov 27, 2006

Messiaen, molto appassionato e agitato al fine

Today I forgot my camera.

Here is where you ask why--no, how-- this is relevant to anything exciting or useful in Devora's life. And you're right: normally such a thing would be completely irrelevant, except that this evening was the long-awaited performance of Contempo, featuring Messiaen's Quatour pour la fin du Temps.

I had intended to visually commemorate this performance for posterity, and was upset to discover, upon arriving to rehearsal, that, in fact, I did not have my camera. And because I arrived well before anyone else, I had ample time to ponder my upsetted-ness.

It occurred to me that many people I know are rather obsessive about pictures, and that I would do well to not follow their example by placing too much emphasis on visual reminders in order to remember the things that I have done. But then, my main purpose in taking pictures tonight was to post them here, where you all could see me in action, and then I thought I could just paint you a picture with words, and that would be good enough. For even if I had taken pictures this evening, words still would be necessary in order to explain the people, place, and circumstances, in which case one could almost get away with no pictures anyway. And then one of the clarinetists walked in and startled me, at which time I concluded I should stop with the philosophical discourse and just go get my darn camera.

So, without further ado, I present you with all but two members of Contempo:
From left: Professor Feltman; Jessica, flute; Antonio, bassoon; Tonia, clarinet; Devora, violin; Louis, cello.

As you can see, my pink shoes made another appearance, much to everyone's delight. The last time I wore them to perform in a concert, it was the source of great consternation (some genuine) among many of my teachers. In this case, everyone thought it was a nice touch, and after all of the hard work I put into preparing for tonight, I certainly felt entitled to a bit of fun!

The concert went very well. Antonio and Jessica performed on the first half of the program, and after intermission (at which time I forgot to hand off my camera to get some action shots), the five of us walked onstage and played the heck out of Messiaen.
That's not to say that the performance was without a couple of unglamorous moments, but overall, it was very impressive, so much so that we got clapped back onstage for a second bow and a quasi-ovation. People were particularly impressed with the last movement, which was a violin solo with piano accompaniment. The clarinet and cello each have a solo movement as well, which are embedded within the rest of the piece. The interesting thing is that each of these movements is exceedingly slow, so that they give the physical impression of lasting an eternity. In the case of my movement, that impression was something which preoccupied me throughout rehearsal. While the tempo markings of the other solo movements are much slower than mine, the actual note values in my movement are longer, and the piano has a very minimal accompaniment; so it seems like the very last movement lasts an eternity. This, plus the fact that the violin part ventures into the stratosphere, plus the fact that I was more or less responsible for closing the concert meant that I was a little stressed out towards the end.

Thank goodness I made it to the last note.

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