Saturday, August 12, 2006


Kenai Peninsula Orchestra

Their Summer Music Festival Gala Concert, last night in Kenai (and tonight in Homer), began with the second movement of a "work-in-progress" that, when complete, will somehow describe life on the Kenai Peninsula, as seen by their composer-in-residence. It was OK, but I found myself waiting for something, which never seemed to come... In truth, it sounded a bit like something from Yanni (maybe sporting a powdered wig). The second piece was Mozart's Flute Concerto No.1, featuring Laura Koenig. The final piece was Moussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition". Very nice! I have to admit, my first exposure to this was by Emerson, Lake and Palmer in 1972. I really liked it then and I enjoyed hearing it live in a more classical format this time, too. The double-bell euphonium was a treat.

These last two weeks have sure been interesting, and quite intense for the KPO, I'd imagine. I sure am grateful for the opportunity to experience this kind of live music, if only for a brief time.

Tonight, after dinner, the sun finally came out after several days of rain and clouds, and we were privileged to enjoy the last four hours until sunset. I am such a sun addict. When it is cloudy and gray, I start to feel uncomfortable and ill at ease, restless, bored, anxious. Then, with no warning the sun appears, the clouds drift off, the sky turns an intense blue. My dark mood quickly fades, and in no time at all: "life is great", "we really have it made", "isn't this a fine place to be living", and so on. I really ought to think about moving somewhere with more sun, maybe San Diego.

It was so inspiring to watch the four cellists playing last night. Maybe one day.... I'm moving right along with my own cello playing. I've comfortably integrated the second position shift "etudes" into my half-hour warmup. I've been working on getting my fourth finger to ring clear on the new higher notes on all four strings. As I play each piece, I've been trying to incorporate some of the goals I enumerated in the last post (below). I usually play anywhere from 20 to 25 pieces every day, but I'm most actively "working" on nine new and recent (last month or so) ones. Each offers a different challenge; most of them use second position. The five in Mooney are relatively simple but pleasant tunes that drill shifting across strings. They include all the strings, with numerous shifts up and down and across.

The Suzuki 2 pieces are all progressing, steadily. Each day I gain something. The Mozart piece sounds better and better. Today, for the first time, I heard myself playing a real portato pulse in one of the early Suzuki 1 pieces. It feels so good to be able to play a pleasing piece by and for myself (for example the Bach Minuet 3, or the new Handel Chorus), and actually like how I am making it sound.

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