Unexpected new additions to your everyday life do materialize when you start playing music. At 14 I never would have imagined that in my mid-twenties I will be scraping on pieces of cane several hours a week to achieve the ideal resonance in a fine-tuned tube, that I will argue over things like wire placement, blade shapes, tube length, et&. Reed making has become an amazing hobby, one that brought a lot of joy, frustration, and excitement into my life and I tried to capture that all in the short piece above.
After rolling out of bed this morning - unusually late at 9 am - I proceeded to "fry" my morning espresso. Lack of a morning companion who could stomach such a thing so early forced me to go out and purchase the one cup version of my beloved Moka Express by Bialetti. (The purchase felt almost like signing a contract that bound me to being a single bachelor for life - great prospects!) The thing turned out to be so small, that in lieu of a more appropriate tool, it requires serious assistance of a frying pan to stay over the smallest burner on the range:
Back in August when I first faced the problem of the moka-too-small and came up with the frying pan solution I was very determined to get an extension for the grate. Soon enough I thought, getting such a tool would be almost like getting one of those books with punny titles like Singled Out or Going Solo, and decided that I couldn't bare having that in my kitchen; the pan shall do until its time for a larger Bialetti.
For the past few weeks I have resumed taking long walks with nothing on me but a pair of headphones and a music player; something I have done almost every night through high school and college and that I sacrificed for the miserable subway commute in New York City and the constant stress of being an adult. I really miss the times when I could still afford the time to run away from everything and spend a night listening to Beethoven while staring at the stars or walking down the bank of the Danube crossing bridges randomly.
During these walks with no set route or destination I find that I am able to concentrate much more intensely on the music itself without any distractions that would occur otherwise. It is the closest to a live concert experience one can get. I like to go through a piece several times beginning to end, make up stories to go along and trying to define the feelings that the music awakens. My mind focuses in on fine details of the musical architecture and I am able to actually visualize the form and structure of the composition at large.
It is quite wonderful to have some time up in the Hudson Valley to start preparing for the upcoming concert season. My biggest project will probably be the putting together of my graduation recital, for which I have chosen a theme already and focused in on some pieces, but it is still up in the air which one of those will make it to the actual program. One definite choice is a piece that has been on my radar for a while - by yet another composer who never wrote a solo piece for the bassoon - and I have been waiting for the right timing to put it on a program.
Obermann's Valley from Franz Liszt's piano cycle Years of Pilgrimage. I actually first fall in love with the hungarian title of the cycle "Zarándokévek" and listening to the music absolutely fulfilled my expectations. Some of the most puzzling music Liszt ever put on paper. For this particular movement he chose extensive quotes from Sénancourt's Oberman, Letters, a book he often read and found its descriptions of the Alpine landscapes absolutely fascinating.