Friday, February 20th
We got a great start with our first concert on home turflast Wednesday before leaving for Maine on Friday. The first half of the tour program features two chamberworks by Stravinsky—the Divertimento for Violin and Piano and the three piecesfor solo clarinet—as well as my new song cycle “From the Rubaiyat of OmarKhayyam” commissioned for the tour. The second half is the full version of Stravinsky’s “l’Histoire duSoldat,” with narration. I’mnarrating the piece, as well as playing the Soldier, the Devil, and thePrincess. That’s quite a challenge! Then again, that violin part seems sortof difficult, too…
Everyone got onto the little plane to Portland without ahitch. We landed and piled into atwelve-person van to take the trip up to the Camden/Rockport area where we werestaying to play the Bay Chamber Concerts series the next day. I drove the van asit gently snowed on the forested roads all along the way. Many of us had never been to Mainebefore--what a beautiful part of the world!
That night we went to Cody’s nearby for dinner withHal. He had to fly intoManchester, NH and drive up because most airlines don’t take double basses onboard. That’s a drag, quite literally, but he is atrooper. I’m guessing he gets alot of “don’t you wish you played flute?” so I’ll restrain myself.
Yao and I were dealing with colds; it’s hard to playclarinet when you’re sick, but he sounded great. For me, it brought a little something extra to the voice ofthe Devil in l’Histoire.
Saturday, February 21st
An early afternoon sound check at the Rockport Opera Housewas followed by lunch at Chappy’s Chowder House downtown. Chuck Sterne from Curtis met us at thevenue to provide moral support.
The opera house is like many I’ve seen in New England—a theaterbuilt some time ago with beautiful and charming details attesting to a longinvestment from local people in their arts. This one had a hand-painted curtain that was down before theshow and during intermission.
It was great to meet some new people there (Allison was veryhelpful at managing our concert!) and see some old friends of mine and friendsof Curtis. Kathie Johnson came andturned pages for Lio on the Divertimento. Kathie is the mother of my good friendKirsten Johnson (violist in the Philly Orchestra and Curtis grad) and she andher husband Marc (of the Vermeer Quartet) have made Maine their home over theyears. Afterwards, we were hostedby Stormy Bok at a dinner party she put on for the event. Her house is an amazing place that overlooksthe water and is full of Curtis history. And the crab cakes were pretty great…
The audience was receptive and involved in the performance,and I got the sense that they are serious music lovers in those parts. It was our first show on the road, andwe were excited for it!
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