Sunday, 23 January 2011

I dare not say I've nipped this illness in the bud, because that's tempting fate, but after a few days of nothing I went skating again yesterday and am getting ready to go again now in this crisp, sunny, proper winter weather we've been having.

This morning I played alto trombone in one of the local Catholic churches: a Haydn organ mass to which was added trombones to double and support the choir parts. The mass being already a bit of a marathon, with lots of high notes and lots of bits without rests, I doubled the soprano part of the last verse of the last hymn as a little sprint to the finish line. Fun and, ok, a bit narcissistic. I looked at the music director afterward to see if doing that had been ok, and he was pleased and a bit surprised I think - did he not realize that it was actually lower than the alto part I'd just played...? Aural illusions, very good.

Sometimes I wish I played a slightly less athletic instrument though, so when the other day I was in the Schola trying to conjure a non-existant transcript and spied a room that was empty except for a copy of a 17th-c French harpsichord, I ran in and shut the door. Both doors. I'm not a very good keyboard player, but I do love to sit at a resonant harpsichord and play full harmonies by myself now and again.

Until two days ago I was wondering if I'd done in my career by leaving Basel for a whole 7 1/2 months last year: I had just been booked for one concert in February and had one in March and then things would only start up again mid-November. I reckoned I'd been forgotten. I had only just begun to worry - things do take a while to start rolling after Christmas after all. But suddenly they came: since my last post I've received four texts, calls and emails, adding - if they all actually happen - eleven concerts to my diary. Five lovely projects, filling out February, March, and April and starting to add July and August to my diary. So I do have a career after all.

We trombones do tend to be booked late in general - a bit more notice for chamber music, but around two months before is unfortunately quite normal for orchestra projects. Singers and cornettists know their schedules much further in advance because the concerts really can't happen without them, whereas there will always be a trombonist free somewhere. As a result, I have to choose arbitrary days for family to come and visit in April and June when in fact it's very likely that whatever concerts might get offered to me for that time are already being advertised in brochures and on posters. Also, I now have to change a plane ticket at my own expense because the new project in March leaves me in the wrong city on the night of my flight. It's better than an outright conflict though I suppose. The music for my next playing project, February's Bach Cantata, has arrived and couldn't possibly be in a better key for my slide trumpet - yey!

Speaking of flights, my couchsurfers are on the same flight with me to Edinburgh tomorrow - what a very small world...

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