October 12, 2009

The Ghosts - and Ysaye

Funny, it seems that this writer is not actually keeping up with his 'responsibilities' as a writer, but it's been quite the time - part of which included a performance of the first movement of the Sonata in A Minor, Op. 27, No. 2 of Eugene Ysaye during Carpetbag Theatre's Fortieth Anniversary celebration in the Knoxville Botanical Gardens and Arboretum.

A few years ago I wrote about my first experiences with the Ysaye Sonatas and did find myself once again confronting the "ghosts" in the room while preparing for this performance. Those ghosts of course include Ysaye himself and memories of the many performances of these works that I have heard, but also included memories of my past performances as well as lessons on music and musicmaking that have taken place over many years.

The lessons that remained prominent this time included one of my first with Mr. Goldsmith, during which he said "Musicmaking is not a run-on sentence." So true - even in a movement that at first may seem to be a perpertual motion one must take time to breathe, take time to create silence, end phrases, tell the story. This is one of the premises behind Daniel Helfgot's The Third Line: analysis for performance must include real thought into the energy and direction of the music.

It is easy, of course, for many of us to become overwhelmed when faced with a work of such importance, and that overwhelm can result in a very superficial, cursory reading, but this time I did indeed want to go deeper....I think I did. Of course, it would be difficult to put all of this into words, but I find myself deeply grateful for all of the lessons, performances, books and lectures - all of the spirits who visited during this past week - for helping me begin to bring musical thought and action to life, to get past technique and into making music and hopefully honoring Ysaye's intentions as put to paper in 1924.

Until next time,

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