Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Recital Day

Sunday was recital day in New Denver. Fifteen of the local students, and both their teachers, performed pieces they'd been polishing over the previous couple of months. We had an awesome accompanist drive over from the Okanagan for the weekend. There was a little ad in the local paper, so lots of local people not directly involved in the kids' musical endeavours showed up to hear them.

Fiona played "Long, Long Ago." She's currently polishing Minuet 1, so LLA was a confident well-learned choice for her. She was able to focus on playing with beautiful straight long* bows and on varying her bow speed for the various notes. * long being a relative term, since her bow and violin are sixteenth-sized. She gave a great cue at the start and played with as big and beautiful a tone as her violin will allow. She loved performing, and asked if Sandra (the accompanist) would be back next week, or at least next month, to perform with her again. Alas, Sandra won't be back until the SVI in August.

Sophie played "Seitz Concerto No. 2, 3rd movement". She had done a lot of detail work on this piece over the course of the winter. When it came time to pull all the details together for performance, it didn't happen magically. We realized belatedly that when encouraged to think carefully, Sophie tends to overthink. When it came time to rehearse for performance, she ran into some issues of tempo instability and stumbles that had never happened before. Fortunately some extra practice at home and encouragement to stop thinking and "just play!" got her over the hump pretty quickly. On recital day she cranked out a terrific, stable, confident performance, definitely the most mature and secure performance she's ever done.

Noah had, against all odds, been practicing the Presto movement of the Telemann Viola Concerto in G Major slowly and carefully for the past week or two and it paid off -- both his rehearsal and performance were jaw-droppingly gorgeous. His stylistic sense was bang-on, and he shaped the phrases and terraced his dynamics with such affection and musicality that I was very proud. He came home quite bouyant, despite the fact that he was coping with a massive head cold.

Erin chose to play the Meditation from "Thaïs" by Massanet, a 'safe' choice for her technically, but one where she could turn on a lot of syrupy sentimentality and get all the grey-haired ladies in the audience sniffling appreciatively. She pulled it off very nicely, and turned on her stage presence in a way that just thrills me. To see her playing these days you'd never imagine that she is shy and socially reticent ... she puts herself out there with charisma and smiles and oozes enjoyment and confidence.

Mostly, though, the recital was fun. The kids enjoyed playing. The accompanist was great. The audience enjoyed everything. Every single performer did beautifully; so many important gains were in evidence. It was wonderful to see the entire spectrum of performers, from tot to teen, beginner to advanced, playing for each other and enjoying each others' contributions. The warm social atmosphere of the reception was a treat in itself.

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