Duet

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I just realized I forgot to post about last night’s duet time with my neighbor. Life has apparently been busy!

The piece he brought over was Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring by Bach. As you can see, his piece is complicated enough to occupy him while mine is simple enough (okay, it’s ridiculously simple) that I can focus on my listening skills and working with him. Very very different than being the main melody! It’s also made more complicated by the fact that my duet partner is young — he’s not used to taking charge of a situation. Since he’s the better cellist, he kinda should be, but apparently I’m kinda running the show, with him adding in knowledge that I don’t possess or have forgotten to apply to my playing.

He’d practiced it before, which was helpful. I, on the other hand, got to have some good practice sight reading. I actually think I only messed up on one note, so I’m pretty stoked — apparently the sight reading practice has paid off. Before I’d been convinced it’s only effect was frustration! Granted, my dynamics were absolutely crap, by which I mean non-existent. But I managed to keep my bowing relaxed using my newly acquired bad-ass bowing skills. That was seriously unexpected. Two out of three isn’t bad.

We’re planning on practicing more and giving our families a little recital since we’re neighbors and it’s easy just to pop on over. Also of note: my kitty went down for a nap before we started, but as soon as she heard us playing she ran out to listen for nearly the whole time. She loves Bach so much it’s absolutely adorable. On any instrument. No matter how loud. Also, she likes Debussy. And Indian classical music. And knows how a major scale should sound — if I mess up, even if I’m only a little sharp or flat, she yells at me. I have the world’s best kitty!

This is Zorra the first time I put on a CD of Bach’s Suites for her. When it stopped she woke up, came to me and asked me to follow her, then told me to turn it back on. I hit play again and she fell right back asleep in front of the speaker.

Right, so I was talking about playing the duet with my neighbor. It was quite challenging for so many reasons. At first I wasn’t really taking charge since he’s by far a better cellist. Then I started to notice problems that he was having trouble managing, so I stepped in gently and it helped. One of the biggest challenges is that he wants to start out playing it fast, which just doesn’t work. There are enough problems when it’s slow and things fall apart even more when it’s fast. So, I had him slow down to a more reasonable tempo, which was great at first, until he started speeding up from a nice slow larghetto to a waaaaay too fast allegro in the space of only a few measures. So, we’re gonna have to work on that — with a metronome — next time. Other than that we worked together pretty well — he’s quite knowledgeable and a pretty decent cellist when he does a better job of managing himself. So, I suppose in this instance being a grown up isn’t such a bad thing because this whole thing wouldn’t work with two teenagers. I think after a few weeks working on it together it will sound quite nice, however.

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2 responses »

  1. “Iz in ma bed, lis’ning to Bach”

    My 3.5 year old daughter was sitting at the dinner table today humming one of the minuets I’ve been working on. The other day she was dancing round me and my cello in her fairy dress.

    Awwww….

    (P.S. Great that you’ve found someone to play with.)

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