Thursday, March 31, 2011
Last week we performed a preview concert of our upcoming northeastern tour program at Spelman College's Sisters Chapel. I last played there many, many years ago - and frankly I had forgotten just how rewarding the acoustics are! During the performance I was hearing other musical parts in a new light, with flattering reverb from the hall. How beautiful each of the other instruments sounded, more beautiful than usual... the flute was more shimmering, the dark yummy tone of the clarinet more lush, the gorgeous singing vibratos of the strings more vocal... it was a real treat. And clearly we all responded musically. In the Foote Piano Quartet, phrases were shaped and treasured with especially tender care, new nuances were added and heard and repeated back to each other. It was like a new journey with an old friend. I often think of performing like driving a car on a journey together, knowing you have a destination together, but excited about the new details you can notice for the first time or in a different "light", as if it's sunset rather than midday or misty rather than full sun. Or vice versa. One never quite knows what one will see and experience and - dare I say it - feel during the performance journey. Sometimes we spend so much time self-critiquing and scrutinizing, striving for precision and clarity and consistency. But that night at Sisters Chapel, inspired by the beautiful and luscious acoustics, I actually forgot about precision as number one goal. I relaxed into the moment of enjoying the performance journey. The feeling was so welcome and reminded me deeply why I began performing chamber music 35+ years ago and why I am still lucky to do so today. All because of acoustics. Thank you, gorgeous Sisters Chapel at Spelman.