Saturday, May 28, 2011

Another Chamber Music Workshop Is Done

It's late in the day, but I'm happy. I got to play chamber music on my bass all day today--and all evening too.

Over the last few years, I've attended gatherings of the Chamber Musicians of Northern California (CMNC) that take place three times a year at a San Francisco Bay Area campus. After about 12 of them I know the drill, and always learn something. Also, it's great to be with people who are interested in what you're interested in--and being a "workshop," it's about developing yourself as a musician--not being a perfect concert performer. Good thing, too, because I make lots of mistakes!

We were assigned a Piano Quintet by German composer Hermann Goetz, who lived from 1840 to 1876 (see photo). The piece was beautiful and challenging. Goetz wrote it late in his short life--1874, while he already was suffering from the tuberculosis that would kill him.

We opted for the slow second movement, and even after a day's work of practice, I never quite got it right. Some parts are simply harder to play. But it was worth it to try to figure it out.

My work on this piece helped me realize that it's one thing to play every day, but for my next step, I need to work more on the basics--hand position, intonation, bowing techniques, scales--to move to the next level. That's something worth knowing--and acting on.

After dinner, I joined seven other musicians in playing through Schubert's Octet--a favorite ensemble piece that gives the bass plenty to do. Much of it is easy to play (for me now) but there are some challenges. I did a better job than the last time I played it--gratifying.


Shaun Reid said...

That guy looks like Dan Auerbach.

Steve Schaefer said...

Stringier beard, though...