Week in review, February 21-27

Last week featured two recitals, and almost a third. One of my students gave a half-hour recital of Glass, Mozart, Chopin, and Debussy as part of a Bachelor of Arts degree, and then for the second half of the double-header I played with a clarinet performance student - Baermann duo for two clarinets and Spohr's second concerto. Quite a full afternoon! It's quite interesting going from the emotional intensity of having one of my own students give a degree recital, then turning around and performing twenty minutes later.

The third program that "almost was" was scheduled for Tuesday evening - a lecture recital on Argento's "To Be Sung Upon the Water." Unfortunately we had illness among us and had to postpone to the end of March...more time to meditate on this really amazing combination of text and music. There will probably be a dedicated blog post on this work around that time!

Concerto practice for the week was the fourth movement of Brahms' second concerto. I knew going in that this was a tall technical order - make large, "heavy" shapes sound light and "grazioso"! My goodness, that's no joke. I'm amazed how Brahms covers multiple octaves with incredibly wide gestures, as well as the requisite scales in double thirds, octave melodies, and other Brahmsian traits, but still creates a truly transparent texture. This is not "heavy" music, but it will be a while before I can get everything familiar enough in my fingers to pull off the light, airy nature of this material. Goal for completion of the whole concerto is summer 2017.

Two other random thoughts: one airline rant and one language-learning technique. I received a notice that a trip I had booked for April to play a set of recitals in the Houston area had been subject to a "schedule change." Usually when this happens it's a matter of a few minutes (e.g., 7:35 flight becomes 7:42), or simply a flight number change. Not this time. Apparently the original flight I'd booked for 8am had been cancelled. So, I was "conveniently" rebooked on the 5am flight. No "would you like to cancel/try another airline/receive a refund?"...just the assumption that I'd automatically take the early morning flight rather than look for a more convenient deal. As a relative of mine likes to say, the airlines are probably the only business that can completely alter the product/service they sell to you at any time AFTER you purchase it, and not only not offer you a refund but actually charge you if their altered product doesn't fit your needs and you cancel your order. Oh well. I suppose with a new baby around by then I'll probably be awake at 3am anyway...

Lastly, in my continuing quest to build German fluency, I bought a German copy of FIFA 14 on eBay. It's a blast. When you work through household activities, sports/recreation, or other "routine" things in another language it really helps retention. Anyone know how I can get hold of a German sports news program?

New baby coming soon...my posting could soon return to its erratic self, but I'll try to continue the weekly reviews. I'm finding that it's good discipline.