‘You’re dragging, like a dog that doesn’t want to go for a walk’. We are too, funny how we slow down on the tricky sections, play louder when it’s easier even if it’s marked piano, just get carried away by the music… that’s it, we’re carried away by the music…
It’s all good humoured, even if there is occasionally some fierce instruction from the conductor’s desk – I’m still not sure how you’re meant to watch the wand and your music at the same time, my eyes don’t switch focus fast enough. My brain doesn’t work fast enough, my fingers certainly don’t – but I’m hanging on, as the music streams ever on, helped by the kindest of desk partners, until things calm down a little, and I can get my sense of playing again.
This is our last evening rehearsal before Saturday’s concert. There’s a sense of having got to grips with the music, yet also the slight hysteria that always accompanies the near-fruition of a lot of hard work. I miscount and perform two single note solos, coming in a beat early – mustn’t do that on Saturday. A quick check of a few bars for the cellos produces another solitary player ‘hey, this isn’t a solo’. Some open up the music for a different movement – soon noticed. Glad that I am tucked away in the second violins… my mid-life start to the violin gives me a notable disadvantage to most who have played since schooldays.
And I am glad I’m tucked away in the violins. It’s a great sound to be part of; so varied – rich and powerful, quiet and almost still, furious and melodic, with twists unexpected and paths of welcome familiarity. Music rich in expression and humanity – the dense, complete world of a Beethoven symphony, Sibelius’ crisp clarity, Elgar’s swirl of an English summer. All these players moving air to bring this alive – it’s a physical thing, momentary yet indelible, and physical for the players too – it’s surprisingly hard work. All coming together in great moments of music – yes, I’m looking forward to our concert. It’s going to be just right.