Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sick Compositions

Today I played a composer named Jennifer. Not me, of course. I never composed anything I would admit to, and only what was required of me by my music theory professors, who understandably thought I was mentally deficient when it came to making up my own music. I so envy composers. And jazz musicians. I am so straight laced that I sometimes get mistaken for a girdle, which can be very uncomfortable for everyone involved.

Yesterday, it was Schumann. The coach, an intense but very kind piano professor, kept saying in her lovely eastern European accent, "Just relax, Jennifer!" Anyone who knows me at all is laughing their heads off. I'll wait a second while they compose themselves.

Jennifer Higdon was born in 1962. This makes her way older than me. So if we were, say, running a marathon, we'd be in totally different age groups. She certainly can compose music that requires pacing, rhythm, and endurance. I would like to think I could still beat her at a marathon, but if her musical qualities are any indication, I am not so sure.

After playing her, which sounds worse than I meant it to, I craved Beethoven. But the weirdest thing happened. I sat in front of Herr B, playing a trio I had once polished, back in the day, and I simply could not make my fingers and brain talk. It was like they were middle school girls who were total frenemies, and no matter what I said to cajole them, they just rolled their eyes at me and one went stomping off and the other was crying in the bathroom. So, I muddled through then came home and took a nap.

I am at music camp. Music camp for grown ups. It is, as they say (they being my children), sick. It strikes me though, speaking of children, that most of the participants are retirees. I am thinking this just indicates that they have the time for such things, and hoping it does not indicate that classical music is dying with the ozone layer. The camp, which I guess is really supposed to be called a  workshop, is the longest running one in California. Some people have been attending for decades. How sick is that?!

What has this to do with running? Well, I did run yesterday, after Schumann. It felt nice. Today I desperately needed that nap, and though I pondered running, nap brain won.

After napping, I returned to the bench. I sight read more music. I love sight reading. It is like having an entire universe at your fingertips. I am not sure exactly how much music there is out there for a pianist to tackle, but I suppose it is more than I can ever even imagine in my lifetime.

More compositions than I can play in a lifetime.