Saturday, March 4, 2006

A Busy Week and the Most Beautifully Lit Concert Hall in Manhattan

It has been a busy, busy week (echoes from Handel's L'Allego, Il Penseroso ed Il Moderato come to mind immediately when I see "busy, busy" there). This week I realized what is probably obvious to my colleagues and those in professional fields: you don't just leave your work at the office at the end of the day (end of the day? what?). When I worked office jobs, one of the things that tempered the banality of it all was the knowledge that I could leave the job at the office, not take it home with me. Now, as a working musician, I can't just "leave it at the office." Nor do I want to simply leave it. I am happy to work late into the night, to extend my workday to fill the day instead of the hours of 9-5. I love my work. I haven't been able to say this for a long time (grad school doesn't count).

Work this week included rehearsing The Maria Antonia Project for the lecture recital on Monday in Forest Hills. I am enjoying getting to know this music. Also, rehearsing for the upcoming concert of English and Italian music at Waltz in Astoria. Through rehearsing for the lecture recital, I discovered the existence of the 853 7th Avenue rehearsal studios. There are 4 rooms (La Bohême, Aida, Il Torvatore, and Ansonia) available for $18-$20 an hour. They are quite nice, all with grand pianos. The one we used had a fireplace in it, although when I walked in I wasn't sure if the fireplace was real or not. And the studios are very convenient to the N/W subway line, almost right on top of the subway stop. We were invited to give a salon there in the fall of this music.

Last Saturday I attended a concert at Carnegie Hall, of the Cappella Andrea Barca, led by pianist András Schiff. An all-Mozart concert, they played two piano concertos (Nos. 18/K. 456 and 19/K. 459) and the Sinfonia Concertante K. 364. Really wonderful music. Played on modern instruments, the entire orchestra had that modern "sheen" to its sound. Having been immersed in the more immediate and raw sound of gut strings, that "flawless" modern sound makes me go "meh." I just don't find that sound too interesting anymore, no matter how finely played the music is (I know all the players in the orchestra did an excellent job, no doubt). At least for more standard repertoire; new music is a totally different thing. I think this is basically an aesthetic issue. However, I did enjoy the sound András Schiff got out of the that gigantic instrument (A Bösendorfer, I believe), especially toward the bass. His clarity was impressive. I also give props to the double bass players, who totally rocked out during the performance. It was a lot of fun to watch them, and they provided excellent musical support as well.

But wow, what a beautiful hall! What incredible acoustics! I was constantly amazed. And the lighting - well, absolutely gorgeous. The light is a gentle buttercup yellow and a joy to behold. I was up in the nosebleed seats and I could hear everything perfectly. It was fabulous. This was my first time at Carnegie Hall, which when I read that back to me, it seems scandalous that it's taken this much time for me to get there for a concert.

Apart from that, I wait to hear back from the choral audition I took on Friday, and continue to practice, practice, practice ("How do you get to Carnegie Hall?"). I can't think of a better life for myself than this one.

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