Saturday, April 19, 2008


It's a very strange feeling, finishing the last piece of your recital. You bow, walk off,'s over. What? People come up and ask "How do you think it went? Are you glad it's over? Bet you're going to relax next week," and my head is still going "Wait, it's done? Really? What just happened?" It's sort of an extension of the performing mindset- the pieces have never gone by so fast as they did today.

I was intensely nervous this morning, but I ate a banana (Bananas contain some chemical that apparently makes you feel calmer. I heard this from a reputable source, though I recognize the effect may be all mental. Still, I actually find it very effective, so I don't really care.), and got to the hall quite early, and had time to do some sound check/warming up which made me feel a lot better. Being able to hear your reeds and your fingers working really helps. And speaking of reeds, I had such good reed luck, better than I ever do. I had options, and the reed I ended up playing on really did everything. High, low, reedy, sweet, soft, loud, multiphonics. Which, needless to say, made my recital a lot less nerve wracking. (...Reed gods, please do not now curse me because of my boasting. Please.)

But as to my playing. With the exception of a few spots, I was actually really happy with how I played. I was a little nervous in the first movement of the Poulenc, so I had quite a few squeaks from lazy jumps, but after that I got more into the swing of things. I honestly am not sure I've played the second and third movements better than I did today. I didn't have any tonguing issues in the third movement, and I think that all of my dynamics and registers were musical in the third. (I hit all of the notes in both the ff and pp low Bb-Eb sections!)
The Pasculli went well too, especially the death aria (slow, melodramatic, minor) section. The only problem I had with the piece was that the end, an extended and difficult triplet run, which I had worked very hard on this past week and finally been able to play, ended up far too fast, and so I flubbed a lot of the notes anyways. Luckily, that was the (only) part of the recital where I was covered up by the piano. (Cooper, I used one of your reeds; I really like them. Very covered and warm, just the sound I aim for!)
The Rathbun duet was great, and everybody really liked it (possibly cause it's only 7 minutes long :-P), though my teacher had a counting Moment (tsk tsk). But we really hit on the bouncy, vibrant mood of the piece today. (Options for a description as told to me by audience members afterwards: two robots having a conversation, or two ducks having an altercation.)
The Bax quintet, because of the acoustics, was really hard to hear from onstage. But I have been assured that it sounded together and balanced from the audience.
I thought that my cadenza-solos turned out well, especially the one which opens the piece. There were a couple scary moments, and I wasn't holding together in the second movement - which is slow, lyrical, and high and has forty measures with only a single quarter rest, the hardest part of my program to get through - as well as I would have liked, but all in all I was happy, and the ending was great.

I'm a little surprised with how pleased I am with how I played, but I'm really not going to complain too much about that.

Next? Finding out if I've gotten in to Cincinnati.


Patty said...

Congratulations, Rachel! I hope you can enjoy the memory, although, if you are like me, you'll go through a withdrawal of sorts; I'm often rather lost and have this empty feeling after I've done something like that.

Brava!! :-)

C.J. said...

Congratulations! I'm very happy for you. I know what you mean about that last note of the recital. So much intense energy and hard work, gone in a flash.

Well, I suppose it's my turn. Wish me luck! Glad the reed worked out for you, I was super worried it wouldn't get to you on time!

T said...

It's amazing to hear about recitals like yours! Congratulations! I will forever be in awe of people who can play like that in front of other people!

racheloboes said...


Thanks! Yeah, the feeling afterwards was very strange, though I mostly encountered it by being very unproductive for two days, and then wishing I hadn't been. :-)


Thanks! The reeds almost didn't- it was Friday before I had them, and so I wasn't planning on playing on them- too uncertain. But I tried them on Saturday morning, and the one was just such a great reed that I had to play on it. Turned out well too!


Thanks! It's pretty nerve-wracking for me, although after last year's recital and this year's auditions, I was a lot more prepared for the nerves portion of it. I also find that bananas are really helpful in calming you down...