Thursday, January 22, 2015

Application: Submitted

This morning I finally pushed submit on an application that has taken months to prepare.

The Ima Hogg Competition, held each year in Houston, TX, is one of the foremost instrumental competitions in the world.  I wrote a few months ago about the rep I had to prepare for this: 2 movements of  Bach partita and 15-20 minutes of solo rep.

It doesn't sound like much, and I suppose in the scheme of what it could be it really isn't, but what has been absurdly difficult is capturing recordings that are of a quality I would submit. Luckily, husband purchased some nice microphones which have made marimba recording SO MUCH MORE PLEASANT. So, that wasn't the problem.

The problem was not making stupid errors. duh, says the Greek chorus.

Maybe it's because I typically use recording as a practice tool more than something to share with the world, but it's really difficult to not make stupid mistakes. Welcome to the world, Laurel, says the Greek chorus.  It also doesn't help when you're playing a Bach partita for keyboard, in which every little mistake is blaringly obvious. That rep choice is your own damn fault, Laurel, says the Greek chorus.

I'm hoping that since I went for a keyboard partita (Partita 6 in E minor - BWV830, to be exact), there may be a bit more understanding on the part of the judges?? That's a foolish thing to wish for, I know. But! I could sightread the piece on's that. Marimba is hard, guys. Don't know if you know that or not.

The solo rep I chose was Emmanuel Sejourne's Prelude No 1  and Merlin, by Andrew Thomas. I think these are contrasting enough to the Bach to show a breadth of playing styles.  The Sejourne has a tango-inspired dance rhythm with legato lines on top, and Merlin is well...Merlin. When I play the first movement I always imagine a choir singing as my image for blending tremolos. The second movement has moments of contrasting vibes: page 3, page 6, and page 7 are all rather different from one another. During this recording process I kept imagining some cauldron bubbling over when I played this movement, which is an embarrassing thing to admit but I'm gonna do it anyway. Take that, Greek chorus.

I'm so relieved to have finally submitted this application, even though I'm not 100% happy with my recordings. But, if I was, my work would be done, and we can't have that.

My next project is to make videos of these pieces and create a marimba performing edition of the entire BWV830. It's an undertaking, but one I'm really interested in. The current plan is for sticking suggestions, ornament suggestions and execution tips, and a little scholarly research thrown in for good measure.

Atta girl, says the Greek chorus.

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