Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

Ghosts of music past

Thanks to my new accompanist job, this is what my piano looked like yesterday and today. Turns out, six- and nine-year-old daughters are good at helping collate, color-code, and plastic-sleeve-ify (thanks for the tip, Janice!) pages and pages of sheet music. I have four pieces to learn for choir, but there was a master class tonight and I accompanied four soloists there. It was quite a stretch to see the music for the first time yesterday, and perform it tonight, but it was also exhilarating. A crazy straw kind of day, for sure.

I realized tonight as I played for an audience of musicians that I have been living on fumes of the ghosts of music past for years now. I was in a youth choir in the late 1990s and the director was one of the most gifted musicians I have ever met, and likely will ever meet - Paula Reeve. She had such a way with conducting, and I can still remember the general methods she taught me as a singer and an accompanist, as well as specific phrasings for certain songs.

I have used that knowledge for years and years as I've played the piano at church. But it's hard, since I know that most of my precious, heartfelt musical nuance is lost like so many pearls before swine (why is there not a more beautiful metaphor than that one? Sorry!). A hymn is a hymn and there's something inherently perfunctory about it, no matter how much of my soul I put into it.

So tonight, as I played, I reveled in the feeling of being understood, of conversing in a language with fellow native speakers who can respond in the same tongue.

Of course, I also made mistakes, because these pieces were dang hard, and that took away a little from the magic of it all. But oh, it was still magic, you guys!

Here are the four pieces I played tonight. It was so helpful to listen to the accompaniments to get an ear for the the overall oomph of it before attempting it myself. I know YouTube is true, amen.

The Daisies.
Geduld. So lovely, so sad, so angry, almost.
Il mio bel foco.
The Vagabond. Punchy and pirate-y - super fun! I made the most mistakes on this one, though :(.


Desert Stinker