Early Shakespeare, and orchestra report

Shakespeare’s Father: Forsooth, my lad, thou weep’st more loudly than a maid at the deathbed of her betroth’d!

Shakespeare: Father, verily, I beg thee, rein in thy anger and desist in your violence!

Shakespeare’s Father: Aye, thou dar’st call that violence! Weep’st thou? Weep’st thou? Wilt thou sound reason for weeping? Thou maid! Shall I provide thee with sound reason for weeping? Verily, I shall fetch mine girdle and give thee sound reason for weeping!

Everything sounds better in Shakespeare.  Now if I could only remember what this was supposed to segue into…

But, no luck.

Did your dad used to threaten to get the belt when you were a kid, too?

Damn, it’s gone.

I was out of town with the orchestra this weekend. I was awfully sad most of the time, despite the fact that our rehearsals were held in a castle in a nice little town in a nice scenic area and I didn’t get lost driving there. I had a nice room, pleasant roommate, the food was awful but that’s not high on my list of priorities. It snowed, and that was pretty.

The rehearsal rooms were big enough and the acoustics were good. But the entire time I sat there feeling sad and thinking that playing the cello is, for me, like being married to a beautiful woman who will never love me. And I thought back on my cello career, and how the predominant emotion I associate with it is despair and not joy, which made me wonder whether now would be a good time to look for a new hobby.

I was seated next to a young woman who was a far better cellist than I am, with wicked technique. Very crisp bowing, which made it necessary to pay close attention to my own bowing to avoid collisions i.e. accidentally bowing in the wrong direction and poking her. At first it was just more stress and the vast difference between her ability and mine added to my despair, but then I noticed that I had learned more about bowing in the few hours I had been playing next to her than I had in the past several years, and my perspective began to change.

I plugged in my theremin during a break and various people goofed around with it.  I sometimes forget that not everyone is familiar with the theremin. It was fun to watch people try it out.

While brushing my teeth I noticed in the mirror that I still have paint flecks on my glasses from painting a room at our house weeks ago, but every time I remove the glasses to clean them, the paint flecks are no longer visible.

We played our first concert of the season on Sunday, in an excellent venue, in a new building with fine acoustics and a stage large enough for the orchestra. The only thing missing was an audience. We played, let’s see, works by Haydn, Beethoven, Kodaly, Bizet, and um… Bartok.  The orchestra played very well. It was too bad that so few people came to hear us, but maybe eleven AM on a Sunday is not the best time for concerts.

It was great fun to play with so many talented kids.  I made relatively few mistakes, and nothing really awful. The teachers who run the show are all brilliant, and our conductor is especially wonderful.

Another concert next week, and the week after that we go on tour to Italy. For a weekend, but still.

So it’s all very nice, but my relationship with the cello remains as desperate as ever. I really don’t know whether to stick with it, or change to the double bass (a slightly heavier, plainer woman who might or might not love me), or spend more time with the ukulele (a woman who is in a good mood all the time) or what. Maybe look for a new metaphor.

12 responses to “Early Shakespeare, and orchestra report

  1. joeri

    Don’t consider to change to the oboe. That woman has heavy maintenance: the making of reeds…

  2. mig

    Coincidentally, I witnessed a long reed-making discussion. I was not tempted to switch to reeds.

  3. I am not sure electric guitar is even a woman, but if it isn’t perhaps you should consider a homosexual relationship. And if it is, hey… you can make that woman scream pretty easy, I’ll bet.

    Yes, comments like these are the reason I shouldn’t be up this early, but my suggestion stands… try electric guitar.

  4. gordon

    Yes, I can recommend the electric guitar. No bowing, plus music and fingers (Jerry Garcia) are optional.

    If your relationship to playing the cello is like being married to a beautiful woman who will never love you back, playing the electric guitar is like being one of those people who is not ashamed they have cats instead of a spouse. Yeowling, unspayed cats.

    Coincidentally, my dad stopped threatening to get out the belt around the time I picked up the electric guitar, although, had I played baseball or football as a kid, he probably would have stopped earlier.

  5. mig

    well, i originally thought an electric cello would be the best of both of those worlds, like a yeowling cat that will never love you, maybe, but after buying the instrument i had no money left over for an amp and was reduced to wearing headphones and pretending. even the theremin overpowers the dinky little speaker i got. so, still looking. coincidentally, my cello lesson went well today. we concentrated on playing bits of the tune i am learning by heart, because it turns out i can concentrate on the sound and the music better that way, and my playing was much better.
    ukuleles, though, i definitely need more of those in my life.
    sometimes i think composition might be the most satisfying gig, because one gets to experiment with anything capable of producing sounds.

  6. k.

    i wish i had useful, helpful suggestions, but all i have is “i love reading mig.”

  7. anne

    All I wanted to say was JAW HARP but apparently your comment filter does not believe that brevity is the soul of wit so now I am trying to leave a longer comment in order to appease it.

  8. mig

    Good to see the brevity/wit filter is working.

  9. mig

    Cool link. Those pedals freak me out just looking at them. She seems to be handling them well, though, so I guess they’re doable. Looping intrigues me.

  10. beta

    yeah, they always do brag about their complicated reed-making, don’t they. i say anything with strings goes. the more strings, the better, of course… you should try the harp, it’s easy. very satisfying.

  11. Speaking of oboe… So I’m an adult who has played oboe for a couple of years and has just moved to Vienna. I would love to find an ensemble to play with. Is your orchestra looking for any more players? :-) (and are lessons at the school included? :-))