Thursday, August 29, 2013

The End of Summer

Wouldn't it be nice?

The Beach Boys had a CD or album or whatever entitled "Endless Summer." Except for those living in desert or highly humid climates, wouldn't it be positively transcendent?

I have about three-and-a-half-weeks before resuming classes. As much as I'd love to spend it in drunken revelry, there's too much practicing to be done for me to wake up hung over every morning, or even any morning. I do have my internship as well on which to concentrate. I'm trying to actually get something out of it, as opposed to putting in the required time and being finished with it. Additionally,  it would be nice to enter medical school with a solid background in something and even a vague idea of the branch of medicine which I might ultimately desire to follow, although there's much time to decide and plenty of opportunities for me to change my mind.

I am having a little pleasure time before the grind of school hits. One of my high school friends is coming and spending three days next week. Her university starts the following week, and her summer job wraps up on Labor Day.

I've been at the pseudorelatives' home since Tuesday.  I've helped pseudoaunt out with some legal work, as well as helped her with details concerning a project. Other than that, I've mostly practiced my instruments. The pseudorelatives have a very nice piano I can practice, and Jillian genuinely seems not to mind if I practice in the daytime. She doesn't even mind the violin practice, although I mostly go into my bedroom and close the door to reduce the impact while practicing the violin. The sound of the violin is a little less mellow than that of the piano, and I don't wish to be an obnoxious guest. 

Because Scott works long and hard days, I do not play at night unless he specifically requests that I do so. Each night he's asked to hear a particular piano piece and a particular violin piece. He's accompanying me on the three violin pieces that require piano accompaniment.

On piano, he's wanted to hear Chopin's Fantaisie Impromptu, Billy Joel's Fantasies and Illusions, and Handel's The Harmonious Blacksmith.

In regard to Fantaisie Impromptu, he said it's as close to  perfect as it will ever be, and I should continue to play through it two to three times a week, but anymore might make the performance perfunctory and routine. 

In regard to the Billy Joel piece, he said the basics are all in place, and it's impressive that it's already memorized (I handed him the music to each of my pieces when I played them). He said I need to work on dynamics, pacing, and making it not sound just like the recording Billy on Billy Joel's CD but making it more my own. 

He said The Harmonious Blacksmith is quite polished, but that I have two approaches to consider. One is that it was written by Handel in an era in which keyboards had no damper pedals and no ability to vary dynamics. Everything was at one volume, which could not be altered. Some people play it that way on the piano. On the other hand, he said, and which I already knew, Handel was an innovator. If he'd had access to a damper pedal and a keyboard that would play as loudly or as softly as he wanted it to, he would have taken full advantage of that technology. The common school of thought is that a compromise is the way to approach Handel (or Bach) keyboard works. Use modest dynamic changes, and make light use of the damper pedal when necessary. According to Scott, this is wishy-washy. He said that light use of the damper pedal is appropriate, as it always is, as he thinks it's a cover-up for poor fingering. Regarding dynamics, however, he believes, that Handel would have made full use of them. He said that I should use them freely, and that he is willing to give me his opinion of where the variations should occur, but that he wanted to hear my interpretation first. I'll play it for him again sometime next week. He also said that I should consider performing the piece on harpsichord rather than piano. I had thought of it, but I'm concerned about the size of the rehearsal hall and if it would be heard in the back rows. It would be easy enough to try it out.

Each night we've played through one of the pieces on which he will accompany me for my recital. He said he's in no position to critique my playing of the violin. We just don't know how many opportunities we'll have to practice together, so it's  a good idea to play together when the opportunity is available.

My parents are arriving at LAX in the 9:00 range tomorrow, although with a flight from New Zealand by way of Australia and Hawaii, many variables are present. I'm picking them up, and they're even trusting me with my mom's car. I'm prepared to hang out at the airport for awhile and, if absolutely necessary, get a hotel room. They told me to arrive thirty minutes after their scheduled arrival time (which means, if I'm going to beat traffic, that I'll have to hang out in a restaurant for an hour or two) with the hope that everything is on schedule and they can just meet me outside with their luggage. If such is the case, they'll call me on my cell phone so I'll know to drive directly to the pick-up site and not go to short-term parking. I hope a hotel stay isn't necessary, as a social event at which my parents should be present happens tomorrow night. Please pray or send positive wishes in terms of flights leaving and arriving on schedule.  I'm leaving very early in the morning to beat traffic. If the flight is delayed a bit, I can triple wrap my purse strap around my arms and legs and tuck the purse itself into a place where it cannot be accessed without my waking up, then curl up and go to sleep near their baggage carousel.

They've been gone two weeks. I've missed them more than I thought I would, although I am accustomed to their taking extended summer trips. This summer's trip was actually short in comparison to most. They'd already seen a good deal of Australia when their trip was abruptly interrupted by my car accident last summer. They saw the remainder of Australia that they wanted to see, then headed to New Zealand.  They liked it enough that they said they'll take me next year for a college graduation present if I want.

Have a fun and safe Labor Day weekend.


1 comment:

  1. I, for one, am looking forward to the end of summer... Maybe then, I won't be sweating so much! Hope your parents had a great trip, despite the stones.