Mist of dawn,
And up winding hedgerows,
‘cross hill and field,
Down the garden path,
Jack Frost danced.

How,
In such a whimsy, merry flight,
To coat each grass blade,
Nettle,
Earthy ridge,
With a dust of sparkling white?

I, racing morning sun,
Try to squeeze heavy boots
‘tween glistening spires,
Yet my footfall only quickens
A miniature spring.

The child of five takes my hand,
Wide-eyed with carefree wisdom.
“Jack Frost,” says she, “will return –
Come now, for in such a chilly morn
We must play at dragons.”

 

As for the rest of my day, class was mostly positive. Trevor’s only comment on my Scherzo from Midsummer Night’s Dream (Mendelssohn) was that the quality of my double tonguing needed some work. Everything else – tempo, dynamics, breathing, phrasing – all seems good, which was heartening.

Similarly, the slow sections of my Damase met with general approval, though I wasn’t terribly confident with the faster passages. Despite managing everything quite well during my practice sessions, I’m generally struggling to play fast passage-work on class if it’s relatively new. I’m not sure that it’s nerves so much as a lack of confidence in my abilities after such short practice periods, and it’s definitely something I need to work on.

I had another tune this week, Elgar’s Salut d’Amour, and while I am generally improving with the exercise Trevor made a very interesting comment. I had proposed Ulpirra, a little piece by Australian composer Ross Edwards, as a potential solo in our Christmas concert, and got up to play it directly after Salut d’Amour. Trevor noted that my performance of the two pieces was hugely different – Ulpirra had so much life, expression and (by contrast) a full tone with more varied dynamics. His conclusion was that I play expressively when I really love the music, but don’t understand ‘normal’ tunes because I’m so fixed on contemporary music. I rather disagree with the whole of that statement – I don’t just love contemporary music, and am much more open-minded that he seems to be giving me credit for! However, it is a reminder that I can’t let any reservations I do have about certain pieces get in the way of my performance – I have to play with a full commitment to every note.

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