Monday, November 23, 2009

Something I've never done before

Last night, I canceled on the Spohr concert. I feel so guilty, but also relieved.

Every other time something like this has come up, I've just gritted my teeth and stuck with it, but you know, life is short. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different outcome. In similar situations, the different outcome I was hoping for was the experience turning out to be enjoyable in some way that I couldn't predict on the basis of the initial impression. And you never know -- maybe this would have had such an outcome. But thinking about going through four months of rehearsals for this was like wearing a lead hat.
A few years ago, this same person organized a concert at Strathmore mansion that was supposed to include the Beethoven septet. This is a piece so popular during Beethoven's lifetime that he arranged it for several other combinations of instruments. It's possibly one of the most beloved chamber works of all time. The violinist was a young medical researcher who was frantically practicing to learn the piece. He was pretty good, for an amateur, but it almost seemed to get worse from week to week. We started discussing which movements to cut, but nothing made sense. I finally said, "Why don't we just play the first movement and do it well?" The violinist was stricken, but the bass player (who was a music teacher) backed me up. (Even the first movement was a squeaker, but at least it didn't last long enough to be an ordeal for the audience.)
On that occasion, at least the music was worth suffering for, at least a bit. But Spohr -- when I could so much more profitably spend my time at home practicing Chopin, Brahms, and Bach (or even cooking some good meals to share with my husband) -- not so much.
The other benefit of doing these things is social. It's good to be in contact with people who share one's interests. I tend to get isolated, especially with regard to communicating with other people who are interested in music the way I am. But you know how it's not a good idea to keep dating someone you're not interested in? Both of you could be out finding your soul mates instead of wasting time on an unsatisfying connection.

I've spent too much time on these chamber music dates that lead nowhere. Maybe it's a case of, "I'm just not that into them."

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