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Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Voice of the Whale

Most everyone who reads my blogs knows me. And if you know me you know I gave a Graduate Recital, oh almost a year ago. Well, believe it or not, but my recital is still haunting me. Both good and bad. It was an amazing experience and the feeling I had when it was done was quite euphoric. The most trying and rewarding piece on the program was George Crumb's Voice of the Whale for Electric Flute, electric piano, and electric cello. How do you make them electric? Well, just amplifying them.

Emily, Natachia, and me.
Just for the record, this piece took over a year to learn and coordinate. Figuring out the insane rhythm was more than difficult. Finding a microphone and hookup for my flute was stressful. They don't come cheap. (Darren Bradford was extreemly generous and lent me his). Figuring out what to do about blue lighting was tedious and time consuming. For my recital we put blue celephane on the light fixtures and for the Group for New Music concert we had the projector run "the blue screen of death." Contacting media and sound personnel and making sure we were all on the same page was a nightmare. Learning how to whistle was much more hard than it should have been and caused more grief to the three of us than coordinating our rhythms. Checking out and transporting the crotales was just one more thing to worry about. Buying the masks and playing with them was...unique. Pleading and asking the piano maintenance workers about playing inside the pianos was more than a challange. Shh...don't tell anyone, but we sometimes didn't obey the rules... Emily was an angel and often took care of those logistics.  Figuring out how to move the freaking heavy piano. Late night rehearsals were emotionally draining, especially when they didn't work out. Emailing various professors and soliciting for their help was not exactly my idea of a fun time. Coordinating their time with our Crumb group was tough. Trying to understand the meaning of the piece was interesting and informative, albeit extra work. And last but not least doing my recital paper and research was a rather big project. Not to mention my other three pieces on my recital.

Moving the piano and setting up. 
At times I thought I bit off more than I could chew and it was definitely more work than I had bargained for. BUT, who can say they successfully pulled of a complicated work by GEORGE CRUMB? I did, as well as my awesome piece-mates Natachia Li and Emily Sain. I could not have done this piece without them. They learned new techniques with me and pushed through it all. Natachia was ever so patient and Emily Sain was freaking AMAZING. It was as if she had to learn a whole new instrument. And Natachia and I thought figuring out our rhythm was hard: she had two hands to worry about. I could never play 5 over 7 or 5 over 4 or 5 over 3 or 4 over 3. Whatever it was. They are amazing. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for learning this piece for me and for putting up with all the hassle that went along with it. Even though it was really hard, it was so much fun to perform and definitely worth it in the end.

I also want to thank Dr. Clayton for encouraging me and letting me tackle the monster that George Crumb is as well as Dr. Ricks and Dr. Hicks for helping us with the music and auxiliary portions of the piece. As well as all the other professors who helped and encouraged along the way. And for supporting us and coming to our performance. THANK YOU!

Last minute rehearsal

Click here for the first portion of the 20 minute piece. It isn't our performance. And click here to better understand what in the world this piece was all about and why it was a project.


Marianne said...

I'll tell you what. From the audience's perspective, it was TOTALLY worth it!! That was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen.

And remember, what doesn't kill you just makes you stronger. So you must be pretty freakin' strong!!

Erica said...

You did an awesome job. Seriously.

Let's be honest, whatever you are worried about, no one really knew what went wrong and what wasn't right. I LOVED the piece!!!!

Way to go and tackle such a hard piece. The most important thing is that you learned how to read a different dialect in music!

Jennilyn said...

Wishing we had been there! Thanks for the links--amazing sounds.