Saturday, April 30, 2005

posthorn serenade

The first rehearsals for the 'Posthorn Serenade' by Mozart are over and I am home for a day. Just in time for cats in long evening shadows, two new paintings and the last of the fraises de Carpentras fête.....mmmmmmmmmmm.

Mozart composed the piece with the sound in his ear of the horn which alerted Austrian bumpkins to the arrival of their mail. Hearing this coarse but touching folk sound today, 'out of tune' (but one has to ask: "with what?") but full of purpose and goodly intention, I was overwhelmed. It is the celebration of the imperfection and humanity of our voices (so much more available in the baroque and classical world) which has turned my experience of music around in the last six years.

"N'ayex pas peur de tes gestes"

-said Yves to us while we were smoothing a hemp wall. The tennis player knows this balance intimately in the moment when his gesture ends and the ball plays out the rest, landing in that exquisite unimaginable spot. It's all a yoga of sorts and playing an instrument is no different. In my past as a young 'modern' cellist, my gestures were stillborn for fear of them being imperfect. Since, by their very human nature, they were bound to be nothing but, I was frozen; cramped within the tiny world of trying to make something beautiful and perfect from control rather than flow. In the baroque and classical movement over the last twenty years and in my own personal movement towards it, gesture, controlled abandon (since we must have some control in the 'gobetis'; some discipline in the organic mix) and intention have become the priority as opposed to control alone. Thus any beauty (and there is so much) that appears as a result comes from grace.

Mark Epstein (again in his book 'Open To Desire' ) talks of the crucial journey in relationship (and this opens up a whole other subject the workings out of which we shall perhaps keep to our boudoir!) from 'object' to 'subject'; a colleague talks of there being natural 'followers' and 'leaders':

Though having been accused of it in recent weeks, I am not simply a 'leader'. In the world of modern players I can see that my gestures (now as crucial to me as my breath) can be perceived as extra curricular. Sitting in a section of people playing with their minds and their hands (and of course their hearts) I can stick out like a mad sufi trance dancer at a Surrey golf club. However, the biggest irony is that in that trance-like state we are more humble, not less. When this is misunderstood I am not in the right place.

Sitting in an orchestra playing Haydn and Mozart where everyone is allowing their natural dance to flow, where we are all leading and we are all following; where we are both the subject and the channel, I do not stand out and it feels fabulous.

The masculine and feminine principals united in sound......what bliss! If only life, and relationships, were that easy! Sometimes, laying down my instrument, I feel like the meditator back from his retreat trying to make sense of the world.


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