Saturday, November 04, 2006


Kenai Peninsula Orchestra Concerto Concert

The Kenai Peninsula Orchestra's concert last night was inspiring. Even if hardly anyone showed up to enjoy it (but I've complained enough about that previously). I really like watching students peforming. And I think I know how they're feeling. Jessica Shallock gave an outstanding performance of the Movement 1 Allegro from Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20. More than just playing the piano well, with poise and self-confidence she made beautiful music. A fifteen minute piece, from memory... Amazing. How proud her parents must have been - her mother (my teacher) was principle cellist, and her father was the assistant concert master on first violin.

The other two student concerto contest winners, 14-year old oboist Elyse Carter, and 17-year old cellist Reidun Todd also gave polished, moving performances. All three winners are from Homer...

I come home from these recitals - especially student recitals - strongly motivated and inspired to keep working. Now, after almost a year I can look back and see how far I've come on my own journey (even though it's hard to see the discrete changes). My biggest obstacles continue to be impatience and self-doubt, even though I know that improvement only comes with practice and persistence. Lately I've found myself playing longer and longer, three hours yesterday. I've been concentrating on the orchestra pieces; I'm looking forward to a better rehearsal, Monday. I haven't put as much effort into my Suzuki pieces as I should, and I'm sure that will be obvious at Tuesday's lesson.

My new metronome arrived today! It's simple to use. I like the down beat feature. With a big speaker, volume control, and a nice mechanical-sounding click, it can get pretty loud. Of course this means that tomorrow I'll play that much better, right?

Pink Puffy Slippers sent me an untitled copy of a haunting piece in g-minor that she had recorded (the score credits Jean LECLERC, 1700-1765). Thanks PFS! :) After a brief search, the closest reference I could find was a Sheet Music listing for a "Sonata in g-minor " by Jean-Marie Leclair (1697-1764). The "Free Dictionary" notes: Leclair, Jean-Marie, 1697–1764, French violinist and composer. Leclair studied in Italy, and his music was strongly influenced by Italian models, especially Vivaldi, although it has its own distinct character. He composed much violin music and an opera. Leclair was murdered, possibly by his estranged wife.

[EDIT: PFS forwarded a link from Wikipedia that apparently refers to a different french composer, Jean Panteleon LeClerc, who reportedly lived from 1697 to 1760. I found only one other googlelink where he is mentioned, apparently as author of a manuscript found in the "The Music Library of Jean-Baptiste Christophe Ballard, Sole Music Printer to the King of France, 1750 Inventory of his Grand Collection". Although neither of these dates exactly match the dates on the score, I suspect PFS has the right guy. Still there was something exotic about that other guy writing such a haunting piece and then getting murdered by his wife...]

I played it through a few times - it sounded good. We've been talking about doing this as an internet duet. Of course I have a long way to go, I think it will only take a few months before I'll be ready to try recording myself (with great trepidation after last time). We should each be able to record ourselves using Audacity and then combine the two tracks.

We've been appreciating clear, intensely sunny days and bright moonlit nights, after almost two months of drizzle and clouds. Temperatures have dropped by more than 30 degrees, but it's worth it to have those bright blue skies. I especially like when the setting sun sharply backlights the volcanoes and the mountains across Cook Inlet, as the horizon glows yellow and then pink and then purple. This evening we went out to our "lookout" and enjoyed one of these sunsets as the full moon rose over the Kenai Mountains to the east. Even though we're just beginning another six month winter ordeal, I can appreciate the return of starry nights and the infrequent northern lights. At our lookout there aren't any natural lights around for miles, letting us see all the stars.

Ah Leclair. One of my exam pieces for flute was written by him. A bit disturbing he was murdered! Eek!
I was thinking it must be Jean Pantaleon Leclerc, listed as musician composer 1697-1760 here,, but I can't find any further information on him.

It must be nice to live someplace where you can see so many stars.
Thanks so much! It was great fun up there, and it makes me very happy to know that the concert was inspiring for you.
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