Sunday, March 18, 2012

Excuses, Excuses

This is crunch time. I am looking at the stack of music that lay before me and trying to remember a time when I had so much to process. Really, since January things have been thick with notes. My bandmates have written me off as some sort of “classical defector,” and for the first time in my life I have had to turn gigs with them down even though I am technically free. (JK!! They are some of the most understanding folk I have never known, and champion friends to boot). Then there are students. 22 of them. I am reminded of when I was a kid and had a paper route, each customer (student) had a different way they wanted their paper delivered, and received their papers on different days. I still have dreams about this; I wake up from them thinking I have forgotten a customer. There are also birthdays this week; my wife Helen's is the day after our son Richard's (17th) on the 21st. As if I didn't have enough to do, I am auditioning for a summer festival after the Planets concerts. So if these posts are merely informational, rather than scholarly and literary, I promise to try to return to my old form when some of the smoke has cleared in a couple weeks.

What’s on the docket right now? Planets. Or more specifically, Gustav Holst’s The Planets. I’ll never forget the first time I played it, with Kirk Trevor conducting. My only previous experience with Holst’s music (and there isn’t much more of it) was the St. Paul Suite, a lovely, harmless little suite of dances composed for a girl’s school in London. (Whether it’s the same school about which Paul McCartney wrote the song Girl’s School, I don’t know). The Planets, however, is a “whole ‘nother thing,” as they say in Texas.

We welcome back to the podium Daniel Meyer, who left us just as Maestro Richman was arriving here. They sort of just traded places; Dan Meyer became an assistant conductor with the Pittsburgh Symphony, which was Lucas’ previous post. Dan won us all over with his personable style, as witness this photo from some time earlier this century, taken at a reception after a Chamber Orchestra concert in Tellico Village.

Standing, left to right: former principal flute Teri Forscher, yours truly, violinist Julie Cook, violist Jen Bloch, cellist Ihsan Kartal, violinist Karen Kartal, cellist Bruce Wilhite. Kneeling, left to right: Maestro Daniel Meyer, violist Eunsoon Corliss, former principal second violinist Eric Kline.

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