Hazel’s first concert, performing

What a great day. First of all, the twins slept ALL NIGHT LONG last night! As Ted was telling a friend today, it took a minute to recognize that weird feeling, of being somewhat well-rested. Thanks, kids! You did me a solid, that’s for sure (unlike the previous night, prior to concert number 2, but we’ll let bygones be bygones.)

Then I took Hazel with me to the dress rehearsal. She brought a book to entertain herself (smart move), but though she looked at it a bit, she mostly sat quietly and listened. When the group in between the two in which I was playing was rehearsing I asked Hazel if she wanted to go back to the green room with me to wait, but she emphatically said that she wanted to stay in the hall and hear the music. She waited until the musicians weren’t playing to ask her questions. She did extraordinarily well until the very end, when she was hungry and a bit fidgety, but even then, sitting close to me satisfied her. On the walk home I asked her if she had a favorite part, and she said, “the piece with all the instruments they were blowing into,” ie, the Ligeti “Six Bagatelles For Wind Quintet” with oboe, clarinet, flute, horn, and bassoon. She was fascinated by the bassoon. And then she said, so sweetly, “But I liked all the string things too, Mom”.

We had lunch when we got home, and Ted and I managed to get the twins down, though Hazel and I had to leave before Ted was done getting Emily to sleep. We walked back over to the venue, protein bars in my pocket for the intermission. I found some friends who took Hazel to the bathroom for a pre-concert potty break, and went back to the green room. Ted had arrived before the concert started, and I was able to relax and let my brain turn to music.

It was a long concert, almost two hours with intermission. She sat through it without a peep. She did, apparently, whisper a couple of questions to Ted, but very quietly. And she enjoyed the music. Later she said that it was long for her, and I believe it. But she did it! Her first concert.

I remember my first concert: it was the occasion on which I decided I wanted to play the cello. I wonder if some such long-term life-impacting decision will manifest itself for Hazel after today. And if not, that’s totally cool too. I am just happy she had a good time, and that she could see me in that professional arena.

The Britten oboe quartet, “Phantasy”, went exceptionally well. It was that lovely performance experience in which you feel engaged and wonderful playing, and you can tell also that what you’re playing is coming across, being effective for the audience. I love the space in which we played. It’s resonant but not too wet, and the music expands to fill every crevice, floats on the air up to the ceiling, to the back of the hall. There is no bad place to sit. You can hear well from every chair.

The Beethoven trio went very well too, but I was having pretty bad nerves through most of it, so it was occasionally a bit more fraught experience. Nonetheless, there were moments of pleasure and joy. I love looking up to check in with my colleagues at moments where we have phrases together. The second movement went beautifully, and the last movement was a wild ride, super fast and exciting.

It was also lovely to see friends and students in the audience. It is joy to share what I love with people I know.

After the concert we took Hazel out for dinner. When we got home we spent some more enjoyable time hanging out with our wonderful nanny and all the kids and the cats, watching the latter play together and talking. It was great to relax. I felt, suddenly, tired enough to sleep for a week.

But given that I’m teaching tomorrow and have another gig next week, I wanted to use the time off I had, so I went to the spa this evening, where I had more good conversation with a friend, a fantastic body scrub, and marvelous time lolling about in the heated pools.

All in all, a truly fantastic day.

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