Good morning everyone! If all the technology is correct this will go out to all of you who are my Facebook friends – I hope you will take a minute and to read this and check out my new website.
As part of my Journey of 100 performances of this amazing piece of music (Chaconne for Solo Violin) I am performing this morning at LaGuardia High School for Music and Art, a wonderful school in NYC where many many musicians and artists received their early training.
It is challenging to keep this performance project moving during recent weeks at the MET where we are in the midst of presenting a number of LONG and hard operas (e.g. an amazing rendering of Parsifal tonite, for example, at 6 PM) Daniele Gatti and a once-in-a-lifetime cast). But WORTH every ounce of my sweat equity.
After today’s performance of the Bach at LaGuardia I will log in my performance comments here, and hopefully we will also read some of the reactions of the students as well.
Well it was an *early* morning for me – rain and NYC traffic delays left me arriving right on time after parking – and with no time to warm up… it was wonderful to walk into a room with 100+ kids who were totally engaged and participated fully with me as I warmed up in front of them and performed the work.
I told them about what I was hoping to accomplish with this journey of 100 performances, in particular focussing on the development and perfection of a technique of playing Bach’s music with 2 and sometimes three clearly distinct voices.
Starting out with hands and arms cold, not warmed up, puts you in the position of having to sort of go with the flow of your body while at the same time seeking to “sink into” the music. Sometimes I can just empty my mind and then Spirit just takes over – but not this morning! None the less, judging from comments made live there from the students, I was successful in getting the music and the ideas across.
After I played one of the co-leaders of their orchestra got up and played the first page of the Chaconne. We worked together as I showed him ways to use his bow – without changing his fundamental approach – that would begin to develop his ability to create a distinctly clear Bass voice, and two varying upper voices – this instead of just playing chords. Clearly a very hard-working and devoted violinist, he was open, receptive and able to execute the fundamental ideas. His colleagues were thoroughly supportive, participatory and warm! They clearly love and admire him greatly, and it was easy to see why.
I am still hoping that some students will find their way to leave us some comments, because their reactions in the room were terrific.
My thanks to the Faculty and Administration of LaGuardia High School for Music and Art for making this event come together!
it sounds like you are continually successful . this is still the most rewarding way to make music . give all the schools this special experience !
of course I am human, never doubted it
Paula Washington says
Thank you for sharing the Bach Chaconne with the students and faculty of the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts last Wednesday, February 27th. The students are still discussing their experience. Even though the audience was made up of instrumental music majors, the non-string players were amazed to learn of the possibilities of the violin. As some remarked, it sounded as if more than one violinist was playing. One piano major was astonished to learn that fugues could be played on a violin, even though he is learning violin as his minor instrument. I am sure that some of those whose eyes were opened had heard recordings of the Chaconne and just assumed that two or three people were playing. This underlines the importance of live performance!
Thank you Paula, for your invitation and your comments – you are SO right!