I first arrived in Orlando Wed Jan 22, going to Disney World the next day with Vanessa and Aria, through the rain and cold and barely surviving the inappropriate clothing for such a day, we trooped and muddled through bringing Aria to her friends Donald, Mickey, Minnie and Dumbo. Highlights were the 3d movie extravaganza, and not only because it brought relief from the rain. Donald conducted all sorts of popular songs from the different Disney movies and when he fell in a river, the ducts in front of each person in the audience spritzed mist onto our faces (still better than rain 😉 and when he traveled through a wind tunnel, shot air at our faces. A fully immersive experience.
With technology such as this, what’s left to hope to be able to bring to an audience? Of course I ask this question as my main reason for being here is the concert on Feb 3rd that is coming up with JD Hunter.
We have performed a particular program a few times now, and it is one that has become quite meaningful. But in this rendition of the program, my favorite solo cello piece of all time, the Kodaly Unaccompanied Sonata, Op. 8, and JD’s favorite unaccompanied Bach sonata will be deconstructed amidst our favorite duo, the Ravel sonata. We have taken our favorite movements and put them in a context throughout the evening to render an arc of energy and movement, adding a dancer to a Bach movement and performing an improv to energetically and tonally bridge one movement to another, ending with the dancer moving in silence to close out the evening.
It should prove to be a dynamic and thought provoking evening. It is our first experiment in taking the traditional recital format, giving it a twist. The end result is a flowing magical ride that distills the qualities of the composers ideas and juxtaposes them, Bach to Kodaly to improv (in essence, JD and I as composers-curators) as energetic beacons for the audience providing a longer scale journey for each moment, even through different eras and modalities, to provide a more seamless narrative that we intend to explore further through different collaborations in future programs as well.
I woke this morning in a bit of panic. In addition to the above-mentioned program, while here, we have been working with members of the Aladdin cast on creating string parts for songs composed by, mostly, Zach Bencal, though we played on a few others pieces as well. The concert was a cabaret, a fundraiser for a Broadway AIDS foundation, on Monday Jan 27, but once the show was over, Zach was interested in recording 2 of the songs, Fly Away, and Lead with your Heart. JD and I are staying at the Timucua Arts foundation (https://timucua.com) which is a fully functioning recording studio and arts/performance venue led by master sound engineer (amongst thousands of other hats, really, an amazingly versatile person) Benoit Glazer. So we scheduled to record those two songs which happened yesterday afternoon and turned out spectacularly.
But suffice it to say, we have been up to lots and so, yes, I woke up in a panic today. Would love to perform our opening number, the 1st movement of Ravel duo for violin and cello, from memory so we have been working toward that goal as well…more to come…
Memorization: a way to imbue the body with image and feeling: visualization, spatial and emotional knowledge that lifts the sound back from the source of feeling to the audience in a seamless transmission. The first movement is coming together. I believe the 3rd movement shouldn’t be too far behind. Wondering about the Kodaly. I have played it many times and probably do have it memorized somewhere and will have the weekend to workshop it, so we’ll see. The dancer comes today at 1 for rehearsal and Benoit will put out a short interview on Facebook, so will send the link once it’s created.
The other challenge I have crafted for myself is the lack of my very own cello. I was inclined to not travel with one, and before I came, Benoit said he had two for me to try, so decided to risk it. Up until last night, I have been ‘wood’ shedding on, actually, a carbon fiber instrument made by the company Lewis & Clark. It certainly is a reactive beast, though the sound in general is quite ringy and has a good bass quality, but there were notes that were just unplayable. Benoit knew how to position the ‘woof’ eliminator just right, and the notes came back into focus. Just in time for me to give the cello back to his son in college who is kindly letting me borrow his actually wooden cello, which should arrive this morning. Fingers crossed.