Tonight was a pleasantly social concert. My fellow composer Matthew (from the Composers’ Syndicate) brought his whole family over, making this the first Zo Family Night ever. His kids, who are great in general, were a great audience, and drew some awesome pictures while I was playing. And I had the pleasure of introducing Matthew’s wife Lauren, who illustrates picture books, to the wonder that is the Church Mouse books.
Denise, a fine singer I know from buying sheet music at The Podium, also came and was an honorary part of the family. Alas, The Podium is not going to sell sheet music anymore, focusing only on guitars. I will thus not make such acquaintances there in the future since the only guitar I play is the 200-some-string variety. As far as I know, this leaves us without a good classical sheet music store in the Twin Cities. The silver lining is that all their classical sheet music is now 75% off, so a I highly recommend that all you locals dash over there and clean them out.
The music, you say? Oh yes, there was some of that, too. You know, I think I’m actually on the verge of playing that Chopin ballade well.
I thought it was only going to be a crowd of five tonight, but Dave J. brought two friends at the last minute. It’s gratifying to have a full house!
People were in a chatty mood (or maybe I was, and it rubbed off), which lead to a few questions about the music. I wonder how I can encourage people to ask more? I enjoy explaining things (although I’m not always good at it) and showing off my favorite spots in the music, but it’s hard to get the ball rolling. When everybody’s been very quiet and listening intently for so long, they’re not always quick to speak up and throw questions out. Somehow tonight was a great audience for it. I’ll work more at tomorrow’s concert to encourage questions from people and see what happens.
This same program I’ve been tinkering with continues to please me, so I think I’ll keep the same basic idea going through tomorrow’s concert. Then I want to take a little hiatus from these — probably until well into November — so I can immerse myself in composing this set of dances I’ve been working on. I now have a pretty clear picture of the whole thing, and find myself full of ideas and energy for bringing it about!
Update [Oct 8]: Oops! I listed the program wrong; it’s corrected now.
Well, I did mess with the program after all.
Tonight’s particularly charming audience got a little tour of the piano’s innards, which was fun. And the new “greatest distance award” goes to my friend Dan, who’d come up all the way from Iowa … well, not just for the concert, truth be told, but it’s such a long drive that he still wins the award in my book.
Tonight’s group skipped out on the presidential debate tonight to come hear the piano. Oh brave audience, forsaking the national dialogue for a little music! Here’s a recording of the debate in case you missed it. (I listened to about half the debate later on, and was impressed with Kerry, who was very articulate and clear-headed.)
I like this program — it’s pleasingly symmetric. I now have a dilemma: do I repeat it on Saturday, and give up my claim to never repeat the same program twice?
Tonight was a satisfying finish to the week’s little mad rush, and the first full house of this round. The fellow who rebuilt my piano, and made it the great instrument it is, was here tonight. It was the first time he’d heard it since I bought it. I hope he saw how well-loved it is!
Best ballade yet since college, thanks to a critique from Don on Monday which boiled down to “don’t let the rhythmic sense of the dance destroy the syntax.” Esoteric performer talk there, but I think the audience felt they difference — they responded strongly to the piece tonight. (Hmm. A realization: although it’s a little disconcerting at times, I like facing the audience and being so close to them; it lets me gauge their reactions to a degree I never can on stage.)
Today’s afternoon concert went well, and the sun came out in time to warm the apartment a little for the show. Several fellow composers came today (yay!), so I made it the program a little Cantrell-heavier — I’ve always wanted them to be able to hear my pieces on my own instrument. I hope the more contemporary program didn’t put off my non-composer guests. (It seemed not to….) My hope is that the music all fits together well enough and I sustain the musical energy enough to make the old/new distinctions not seem that apparent, or that important.
I was pushing myself a little doing four concerts within a week, and wondered how I’d hold up. Looks like I’ll make it through fine. The last Zo in this series is Wednesday, so I have a short breather now.
I’m very happy with tonight’s concert — the best Zo yet, I think. The piano was sounding great, and most pieces went well — several about as well as I’ve ever played them. None of yesterday’s muddle-headedness (what was that about, anyway?). The audience seemed to be right with me the whole time — Carei actually laughed out loud after Entropic (messy though it was), and they all seemed pleased afterwards … at least I think so, though I’ll let them speak for themselves by posting comments below (hint hint).
Shirley & Tom Kysilko have the distinction of being my first repeat Zo listeners. Congratulations! Please accept this blog post as a modest prize.
Still trying to figure out the mechanics of the ritual of these concerts: how to start it, how to end it, how to welcome people on their way in and out, etc. I gave a little spoken introduction to the concert; not sure if that was helpful to the audience or not, though I do think it gave me a better chance to focus myself. Any thoughts from those who were there?