Tonight was really important for me. I love playing concerti with orchestras, which is why I record so many, but the opportunities to play live are rare. Sometimes I will get to play with orchestra three times per year and usually they want me to play the Weber Andante and Rondo, so it was an incredible treat to be invited to play with the Prince George Symphony and to be offered the opportunity to pick the works of my choice.
There is so much I want to play! But I had to choose something that would work with relatively little rehearsal time and with an orchestra with a core of professionals and community players. I had considered playing the amazing Mignone Concertino, and of course there are loads of Vivaldis that I want to do... I would have liked to play some of the new concerti that have been written for me and some of the shorter works.
In the end, I decided to give the Hummel a chance to live. The last time I did it was six years ago, and that was when I recorded it. My performance tonight was not flawless, but I can live with it because,well, it happened! Live music rocks in ways that transcend the challenges that crop up. And it has re-inspired me to finish my own edition... I ordered the facsimile from the British Museum and will get to work on that when I get home. But I do all of this only because I love to play, and having good, clear editions to give my orchestras can only make the playing better.
Playing the Vivaldi after intermission felt wonderful, already easier just from the experience of playing the previous concerto. And I am inspired to continue the cleaning up of the parts to make them better... I hope that I can post these on my website as free downloads. Again, something to finish organizing!
And practise makes perfect... playing a concerto is an opportunity to communicate, a chance to go beyond the school-day approach of trying to get everything right (not that I would have minded if I had!) and to interpret in the moment. All performances contribute towards future performances. I perform concerti many times with piano, always working towards the moment when there will be enough performances with orchestra.
I got to talk with many wonderful people after the show and sold loads of CDs. Many students were there, and a lovely child named Sofya gave me flowers after the show. Many older people told me that the music had truly touched them. An amateur bassoonist was at the concert, and he said that he was inspired by the performance even though he heard the moments when I struggled. I was very touched by that.
There is a huge number of details that contribute to making a performance that will touch people. I continue to work on all of this, and cherish the fact that there are hundreds of hours of work and study ahead of me as I build my repertoire and continue performing this music.