So for the second week in a row at rehearsal, I've experienced a most unusual phenomenon. Last week it happened while playing Copland's "Little Horses". There is a little section of about 8 bars that is much faster than the previous material and then becomes highly syncopated. For some reason I GOT it. And I was pretty exposed over the orchestra and that didn't weird me out. I even nailed measure 17. I couldn't quite explain what happened. I am not the best reader but for some reason the rhythms clicked and I was able to finger the correct notes all at the same time.
Today I had the same experience again. And again it happened out of the blue and caught me by surprise. It was while playing Beethoven's 9th/4th mvt. At the allegro assai I have a little part marked dolce then 9 bars later I had written in "solo" last week. I didn't get a chance to go over this piece like I had wanted since I was focused more on my budding EH repertoire. I maybe got a chance to listen to it once on youtube. But pretty much I was approaching it only a bit less cold than last week. Then the magical thing happened. My fairy godmother appeared. Or was it Professor X to activate some mutant power? Usually when I am playing, some major aspect of musicality is weighing me down. Maybe I'm breaking the line, or I ran out of breath, I'm out of tune, or my articulation is sloppy. Sometimes I am struggling just to hit the right notes. As I'm playing I'm usually focusing on one of these things and a lot of times one of the other areas is weak. Lately I've been trying to cut the noise in my head and think just air and hope that by practicing, the other stuff becomes more natural. Anyway, so somehow tonight I was weightless. I started the allegro assai with some other instruments and then was left somewhat exposed 4 bars before my marked solo. My solo starts on high A, a note which I can make ring nicely, and I had a rest before it so it gave me time to breeeeeathe. I started playing and I realized I was alone and projecting well over the rest of the orchestra. The half notes became quarters and then I was playing several measures of 8th notes AND crescendoing at the same time. Rather than dropping a plate or two, I was able to keep maneuvering through the passage. My tone didn't seem to be coming from me. It sounded, dare I say it, gorgeous. I wasn't glancing at my tuner because I could tell that the intonation was fine. I was keeping a nice legato line and had some decent vibrato in there. Though I had a lot of notes most of it was scaley in nature and it was in D major, a friendly key to play in. I somehow worked my way to a nice high D climax and then other folks came in and eventually the conductor stopped us. And when he did, suddenly most of the orchesta erupted into cries of "Brava" and it took me a few moments to realize that it was me they were chanting it to. What had just happened? How had I managed to drop all of the usual weight I carry and experience a few seconds of magic? It was so wonderful and beautiful. I was so excited about sounding good. About doing the instrument and the music justice for a change. WOW! It really felt like an out of body experience.
But I guess it really was no fluke. I think over an over again I am proving to myself that practicing is the key. There is no way around it. That is a positive realization though. Because it means that it's not impossible for me to play how I want to play. If I was able to do it for 12+ measures of (nearly solo) Beethoven, then I have what it takes. I just need to put in the time and dedication and love. Then maybe the fairy godmother of weightless superpowers will visit me more often.