Note: Background images in December 2002 and January 2003 journal entries are selected from Frances Ku's collection of her original watercolours.
Rehearsing for the big day
Just after 9:30 am the cellist and violist arrived. We've been getting together every other Sunday to sightread and discover new pieces for cello, viola, violin, and piano. We finally decided on a repertoire to perform.
As the days get shorter, the big day draws closer.
I have always wanted to play chamber music with strings. The first time I played with a cellist was in Cartagena, Colombia. The Cuban cellist even wrote a piece for me --- to play with him in a concert! I was mesmerised by the sound of the cello long ago --- when I first saw Yo Yo Ma perform. I wanted to be the cello, I decided - at the age of 22.
At university, I practised Franck's famous violin-piano sonata with a violinist. We never got to perform though. Later I did get to perform a movement from it, with a Russian risk analyst in Houston. I discovered him just two weeks before I was leaving.
Playing with a violist is new for me. The viola's range overlaps and sits between that of the cello and violin. We're practising Max Bruch's Romanze for viola and orchestra. It's a beautiful piece. At the library yesterday, I discovered some lovely Faure melodies arranged for viola and piano. I suggested that we go through these.
Beethoven's Piano Trio Op. 1 Number 2 ( G major) is pretty straightforward, but damn challenging for the piano. I had totally underestimated it. My first impression was that it was too classical and therefore too predictable. And predictably, I haven't practised enough to perform.
I have all sorts of arrangements of Pachelbel's Canon in D. I'm not sure if we should start the concert with this trio arrangement or end it.
Playing in a trio is a lot more fun than in a duo or as a soloist. We are conversing with each other through music, varying the tempo, dynamics, and entries. The string instruments can sound as loud as the piano. I can just let go.
Why do we get together to play music? Why do we bother to practise for a concert that brings no income for us? Not everything has a monetary value or motive behind it. Making music is a lot more fun than listening to it. I hope every child gets an opportunity to learn to play an instrument. I hope the children who come to our concert will be inspired. I hope the parents will be wise enough to give them that opportunity.
15 December 2002 Sunday
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