Nice intimate audience; great colleagues on this program organized by guitarist Sean Harkness, who was a wonderfully supporting colleague to me, singer Carole Demas, pianist Ian Herman, singer/guitarist Ellis Paul and a curiously funny comic whose stage name is even curioser: Brute Force.
I was very pleased with the flow of a number of segments of the Chaconne: the three-tones on A sequence (in the major section) and the build to the end from the return to D minor where I was really able to hold back and hold back and then release the stored anticipation. Additionally the most difficult variations to play three voices as independent musical lines – the dotted rhythms right at the beginning – started to show the work I have been putting in on them.
The notion of repetition seeking depth and center of the great work seemed to have a lot of resonance with our listeners.
December 3, 2012 7 PM at The Players
16 Gramercy Park, NY NY
Ann Vellis says
Shem, Thank you for such a magical performance at The Players last night.
The center of the music may not exist. I believe the core is in the perpetuity of the piece.
Would love to chat with you more about this.
For your information, everyone, Ann is speaking about my seeking to explore/find the “center” of the piece, the center of the circle, something I spoke about to the audience before playing. Ann the idea of the core = perpetuity of the work is fascinating, thank you for your thoughts!
Nichole Donje' says
Thank you so much for the wonderful performance. It was incredible to see you do what you do and so obviously love.
I found myself exploring the piece in segments, for me it was about 15. As as actor and director, my mind thinks in story and works to find an arc of, if not actual story, the emotion. I was most moved by what was for me segments 2, 5, 6, and 13. I can’t tell you what they are for you – but there were distinct shifts between them.
Those were places where I found the exploration going deeper, taking me to the next plane or even somehow cradling me…if that makes any sense?
Thank you for sharing your work and for allowing me to be a part of it in this way. What a wonderful idea!
Nichole, there is most certainly a dramatic arc within the work, and it is in fact, essential for the player/interpreter to think in those terms. Moreover, I have started to perform the 4 stylized dance movements that precede the Chaconne as part of my performances in Journey, because I have come to understand them as setting up “questions” which eventually find “answers” in the Chaconne, and feel them as one interlinked work.
For me it is natural to think of them as questions regarding life, existence and humanity…one can imagine Bach (who saw himself very much as kindred spirit with Sir Isaac Newton – a Devout man whose work in Science more fully articulated God’s presence on Earth) mulling such things while “drawing in” these amazing tones…anyway, I can, and it doesn’t matter anyway since the music is beautiful regardless as to our specific thoughts!