I’ve really struggled to figure out what’s next. I have focused on trying to play more consistently, like pull out my instrument and practice like I did when I was in lessons. I figured it would be a good idea to play through all the pieces we’re playing in our concert on Friday and Saturday (Timpanogos Symphony Orchestra, at Orem High school) – Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto, Hindemith’s Metamorphoses, and Wagner’s Die Meistersinger overture. So a total of eight movements, and I thought two movements per day was pretty good, not overwhelming. It’s getting easier. I’m playing the hard parts at a slower tempo, which makes them more doable. It’s not like I’m going to play them slow at the concert. It is really important to stay with the beat, and it is even more important to stay with the beat than to play all the notes, or even the right notes. Playing the right notes at the wrong time is much worse than the wrong note at the right time in an orchestra setting, especially if the texture of the orchestra is very full at the time. At the same time, being able to play them slowly means that I am telling my brain what the melodic and rhythmic pattern is, so that it’s easier to recreate in the section in the middle of the piece.
As I’m tuning in to an old radio program from 2013 where Donald Maurice, Claudine Bigelow, and Scott Holden play various inspiring music featuring the viola and piano, I find my old love for Bartók’s music rekindled, and for some reason, a melody starts to take shape. I write it down as quickly as I can, and I wonder if the first 17 measures will be like the theme of the movement.
Last time I sat down to create music on my score, all I had come up with was the setting of the string quartet, the tempo, and the meter. But today, it’s obvious that it’s kind of like a waltz. It’s hard to imagine the harmonies I’m going to feature at the same time I’m listening to other music though. When I listen through what I wrote, I love the melody, but it’s too slow, and I decide to change the tempo to being defined by the dotted half note instead of the quarter note.
When I pick it up next, I’ll be sure to focus on harmony and counterpoint, and developing the theme further. It should be fun to have a waltz, it’s been a while since I wrote one. If you’re curious, listen to Vals från Rundvik! (You have to scroll to the bottom of the page, it’s the last recording on the page).