Monday, March 12, 2018

Celebrating Clara Schumann, Arlene Hajinlian, Reed Woodhouse and the New York that made everyone (but Clara) possible.

what a thrilling day, and what a vindication of New York life - which needs no vindication but I like pointing them out anyway because they’re just so juicy. Arlene Hajinlian and I are going to play 3 romances by Clara Schumann at the Broadway Bach Ensemble chamber musicale to be presented at 7 or 7:30 (I’ll give proper info closer to the time) in the parish hall behind the Presbyterian Church wherein we play orchestral concerts at 114th St & Broadway on March 22. Arlene had the good idea of suggesting that we get Reed Woodhouse to listen to what we’ve been doing with these exquisite pieces – in which Clara Schumann demonstrates her extraordinary talent as a composer (she was known for being a piano virtuoso at a time when such a career was all but unthinkable for a woman) – they’re so harmonically and rhythmically supple -- gentle, ardent, poignant, charming – written the year Robert Schumann died so it’s hard not to see them as a particularly pointed expression of love for him. (I’m always dragging artists’ bios into the work; I’m told I shouldn’t but I can’t help it.) 
Anyway Reed invited us to a practice room at Julliard (getting clearance even to walk into Julliard is a little like visiting a lockdown asylum), and he was the model coach. He has many facets to his genius but one of them is to zero in on the organizing principle(s) in a piece which not only illuminate(s) what the piece is “saying” but how performers can “say” it. You’ll see in my little video swatch from the 2nd romance below that the octave was at the germinating heart of this particular thing. However, you’ll hear it and much else to much greater and I hope much more regaling effect if you can make it to that musicale. Arlene is a joy to play music with, a marvelous pianist – we did the lovely little two movement Mozart e minor sonata at the Bway Bach chamber concert last year (when this pic of us was taken) – and I think these pieces by Frau Schumann are going to have a similarly magical effect – if that is, I don’t screw it up. Arlene won’t, believe me, so she’ll be worth the price of admission (which in this case is free! but you know what I mean) – and I’ll do my best to keep spirits afloat. The collage pic of Reed and me is just my celebration of the enjoyment we take in each other – or anyway that I take in him. I got some pretty great cronies, I’ll tell ya. New York life vindicated again and again and again.

youtube vid - (Octaves in the 2nd romance: violin only alas.)


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