Sunday, June 05, 2005

The Moon over Six Flags

As I was driving home from our trio rehearsal last night, with the window down and the summerlike air infiltrating the car, I felt like I was having an amusement park hangover. As a child, I absolutely adored going to the amusement park. On our way home Dad would always like to put the windows down instead of using the AC. Though I was sad to leave the park I enjoyed the smell of the woods on our way back. The parkway I drove on last night is very dark and woodsy and so it took me back to those halcyon days.

Yes I did finally get to play with the bassoonist! Now I feel properly initiated into the world of Chamber music.

I ended up playing for over three hours total yesterday if you count the hour I practiced before I left and by the end I had air escaping out of my dying embouchure. It was definitely a challenge for me as we started out with these pieces that were for flute, clarinet, and bassoon which meant I was playing way up high at first. Actually I guess it was best we did these first before I got too tired. After three pieces from that book (I'll get you the names later on) we moved on to a Fugue from the "Last Resort" arrangements I bought. Lastly we played from the 14 trios (from Windsor Brass) which had interchangeable parts. By that time I was tired so I took the third part and let them deal with the principal one.

The bassoonist , William, is the most experienced one of us. He completed studies at the conservatory in the Dominican Republic and played with a symphony orchestra there for 9 years. He lent us a lot of insight into the world of Chamber music. He told us to always be aware of what style of music we're playing and of sound. But not only are we supposed to be aware of what we're doing, we're supposed to be so well meshed with the others that we know their parts too! We're not supposed to sound like three musicians practicing in three different rooms of the house, but as a single harmonic entity.

Afterwards I stayed behind longer to ask for his assessment of my playing. Obviously my sound still has a ways to go. He called it a "virgin" sound, which I guess is better than other words he could have used. He said that it definitely doesn't sound ducky and is musical, but that it's not yet my own voice. But he concluded by saying that I've gone quite far in the short time I've been playing.

One of the conversations we had was about our instruments' names. William was pleasantly surprised that I chose "Luna" for my oboe. He has been doing a lot of work with older Dominican music forms such as work songs that were used by country folk while they worked on the land. Unlike the European (or urban?) notion of the moon as something associated with vampires and werewolves, the campesino concept of the moon was very positive. They saw it as an ally which helped them know when to plant certain crops and when to harvest others. In a land were electrical power was nonexistant, the moon provided light and a beautiful backdrop for many tales of romance. He thought it very odd and amusing that I, having grown up here and being educated in English, picked the moon as the thing to associate my precious oboe with. I explained how I came up with it and it ended up having a lot of parallels with my ancestors' concept. The moon can be a guiding light in our lives.


oceanskies79 said...

Reminds me that I have no name for my double bass. I refer to him as "my husband", but that is not a name, it is a title.

Anyway, I wanted to say that making music can be very fun and fulfilling. At times, it feels like making magic. Imagine in your case, three musicians on different instruments coming together to play different notes, to make a coherent same piece of music.

oceanskies79 said...

May you find your guiding light.