Monday, May 17, 2010

Ahhh . . . . we made it

Ahh . . . . we made it. No major mishaps or embarassing moments and the dreaded pick stayed in my overly tight grasp. Phew!!!!

We started the program with an old favorite "Klezmer a la Bechet" by David Krakauer, then launched into a preview of our new commission by Kenji Bunch. The audience loved the beautiful melodic content and the interesting combinations of sounds that Kenji crafted for us.

We then moved "down under" to piece for viola and dumbek. Yousif really gets to shine in this piece!!

My big and fiercely difficult piece followed. "Thracian Sketches" by Derek Bermel. Except for a tendency to get a little too fast (there's a steady and slow accelerando from beginning to end) which leads to the potential to fall off the fingerboard. . . . it went really well. Another big phew!!

Then we finished with a really fund a rambunctious piece by Giovanni Sollima "Lamentatio". It's cool.

We made it!!!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

First Performance Jitters

This Sunday, duoJalal will perform four new pieces. That's alot of new repertoire to put out there first the first time. Hence the title "First Performance Jitters"

We will preview a new commission by Kenji Bunch. Bunch has really pushed the envelope for the violist on this piece. Not only does each movement (there are four all together) demand extremely different styles of playing, but three of the movements are in scordatura tuning. (That is, the strings are tuned to different pitches than the normal CGD & A).
It's the third movement that is making me nervous. I keep having this awful thought that I'm going to drop my pick. A pick you ask? Yes. Bunch has asked that I play in the guitar style with the viola in my lap, legs crossed and holding a pick. I don't even know how to hold one and the guitarists that I asked just said "Just hold it and play". Easy for them to say!! Please keep your fingers crossed for me.

We're also playing another an arrangement by Derek Bermel of "Thracian Sketches". It's a fiendishly difficult piece with lots of notes and lots of flats. The piece is based on folk tunes and starts slowly and quietly and ends fast and furiously. It's cool.

Wish us luck and come by and check it out.
- KL