I gave my second Masters recital on Friday, which means that although I'm technically only half done with my degree requirements (I have an excerpt board and a written exam left), I have finished my recital requirements!
I'm fairly happy with how I performed. I frankly don't know why I programmed the music I did, given that my two main issues when performing are endurance and missing notes from nervous fingers, because my program was long and quite technical. Both problems did crop up in my recital, but I will say this. I loved all of the music I performed. I never got sick of it, and I didn't only like the music, I liked playing and performing it as well.
I had some dramatic reed problems in the week leading up to my recital, and although I made a very large number of reeds, I ended up playing my recital on a reed which my teacher helped me with. Although I'm disappointed about that, I was very happy with my tone throughout, even as I got tired. I did get nervous about endurance during the second and third pieces, but there were really only one or two places that it affected my sound. I was mostly able to keep in tune as well, though there were a few jarring notes. I feel that I communicated the affects of all the pieces and I was confident on stage. In general everything went well, and I didn't let my mistakes unduly influence the rest of my playing.
However, I can't say that I'm satisfied with my performance. I had some fairly dramatic finger issues in a couple passages, and I did get tired a little more quickly than I anticipated. My problem, really, is consistency. I took things too fast, I was messy, made a lot of mistakes I shouldn't have. Of course I played better when practicing, and in rehearsals. But the difference shouldn't have been so drastic. I'm disappointed in myself because I feel I didn't deliver a performance representative of my best ability. I was listening to some opera a few days after my recital, and I realized that part of the reason I feel so disappointed in my performance is that I've had an ideal in my head all quarter of the fantastic, flawless opera singers I've been listening to so much. I've been basing my performance, my stage presence, and everything else on the inspiration I've gotten from these singers. I had adjusted this ideal in my head to what I thought was feasible for me, but I still didn't live up to that. Mostly because I guess I just didn't practice my fingers enough, but also because I had a much less accurate idea of how stress and adrenaline would influence my playing that I though I had.
The trio, which ended my recital, went fabulously, though.
Now that I'm several days out, I'm actually feeling more ambivalent (in the true sense of the word) about my performance. I can't let myself be wholly satisfied with my performance, but I'm very happy with how I sounded for most of it. (One of the other oboists here, told me that my tone made her happy. Which made me happy.) Am I still kicking myself for missing all those notes? Yes. Do I recognize that most of the time I played very well, and if I hadn't missed those notes I would have been incredibly pleased? Yes.
If you're interested in listening to my recital (after I've said so many disparaging things about it!), I've uploaded it to Youtube here. It will come up in reverse order: my program, as listed in the post immediately below this one, is Sonata, Signor Bach; Concertino, Kalliwoda; Fantasia, Daelli; Trio, Dring. I'm having a very hard time being objective about my performances, so any comments are welcome, though merely "you missed a bunch of notes" would not be particularly helpful. I've also added two other recordings, from last fall and last spring respectively, which I'm particularly happy with.
And now I am very excited about getting to learn some new music (another minor Baroque sonata, another opera fantasia, a couple Bach arias) and playing bel canto opera scenes in orchestra with perhaps my favorite conductor of any I've worked with.
In non-oboe news, as I've said before, I applied for musicology programs for next year. I've been rejected from several, but I've been accepted to both Case Western and Tufts and waitlisted at Cornell. I'm still waiting to hear from Oxford. Now I must begin the process of deciding which school I want to attend!