As far as my own performance went, I wasn’t embarrassed. I don’t
think it got as relaxed as the best of what I did in my own apartment,
but it was a good audience and I was fairly comfortable making
eye-contact, and I played at the level I’m capable of this month.
Karen Kruskal and Sheera Strick have a beautiful house, which they
enjoy opening up for musical events. Along with John Tyson, they
organized a party spread for afterwards, and plentiful water for
drinking during the class. While the seating area was a little on the
crowded side (when they’re expecting larger crowds they remove the
coffee table, or even one of the sofas), it was much friendlier, more
relaxed, and more intimate than the Marion Verbruggen class at Longy
Two young professional recorder players, one professional oboe
player who plays recorder very well, and 3 amateur recorder players.
The oboe player, Wai Kit Leung, has informed me that he’s an amateur,
not a professional.
- I got drafted to start, and played Van Eyck’s “En Fin l’Amour”.
laymusic.org blog for a discussion of the edition I did to prepare
for this performance. Dan said that musically it was very well
prepared, and worked on articulation (mostly), fingers, and breathing.
- Wai Kit Leung, an oboe player from Hong Kong, played a Vivaldi
concerto movement, with Dan playing the bass line on an alto
recorder. Dan worked with him on vibrato and adding ornamentation.
- Emily O’Brien played the first two movements of the Bach Cello
Suite in G major. She had played this at the BRS concert in January,
when I thought she was better. The first movement especially seems to
me particularly unidiomatic for recorder. It sounds better when she
plays it than it would if I played it, and Dan played it better still,
but it still isn’t a piece I’d pick to work on. He discussed how you
decide where to breath, and worked on getting her to be more relaxed
about taking time where she decides to breath.
- Brian Warnock did two movements of a Loiellet sonata, with Miyuki
Tsurutani sightreading the harpsichord part. Dan first suggested that
the Largo should be larger, and then worked with him on the
ornamentation, which was quite impressive. I’m always surprised when
people like him play the fast movements at the same speed as the slow
movements. For a lot of people it’s obviously because their fingers
aren’t up to playing the fast movements, but there was nothing wrong
with Brian’s speed in the Allegro; he just doesn’t hear the Largo as
slow as I do. Part of the problem was communicating with an
accompanist he hadn’t rehearsed with — they took several measures to
settle in on a speed when Dan asked for a slower one, and it wasn’t
clear that is was really the speed either of them would have picked.
One good point Dan made about Baroque ornamentation was that we
should think of Baroque painting, with stars and angels and
elaborately dressed people and lions and snakes.
- Anya (I should check her last name) played Malle Simon by Van
Eyck. She hadn’t really learned it very well, but therefore improved
markedly on Dan’s suggestions. He was very helpful in discussing
varying the repeats by shifting the emphasis.
- Mary Briggs played a movement from a Bach cello suite. It was
labeled a Sarabande, but doesn’t sound anything like a typical
Sarabande with the da daa de da daaa rhythm. He discussed why this
piece might be called a Sarabande for several minutes, without as far
as I remember coming to any conclusion. This one works better on
recorder than the ones Emily played. Dan made a good point about why
to play Bach — he said you have to think about phrasing
because heaven knows Bach didn’t.