Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Fit To Be Shot?

Three weeks, three dates and about 200 emails later, Raleigh has given me my marching orders. She's too busy with audition prep for anything serious and I came on way too strong. I feel like Barbaro, not a quarter mile outta the box and -snap!- broken ankle. A rather dubious debut back into the dating world some years after the big “D” but I shan't mourn long.

Even though Raleigh was scary close to my dream woman -she's absolutely gorgeous, wicked smart (likes to read books on, and ponder, quantum mechanics), hilarious (“You live in Zwingle? That sounds like a Swedish potato chip!”), and completely driven when it comes to her music- apparently an essential quality must also be that she miss me when she's away! Failing that test, I got the boot. Seriously, I think it was just a combination of bad timing and the result of her being the unfortunate focus of my years of pent up romantic tendencies. It all came a'gushin out like the Love Canal had breached its levee! Hurricane Heartthrob made landfall on the coast of North Carolina! Typhoon Swoon wooed the waters of... aah, I got nothin'.

In other news along the same depressing line, I didn't win the summer gig for which I was hoping. Another musically unemployed summer is a desolate thought. Although I've managed to sock away loads in savings. Probably enough to last two summers. Still, I'll try to get some paying chamber music off the ground to alleviate the draw on funds.

On the up side, I had the great pleasure to play with RA (formerly of the Cologne Symphony) in the LSO last week. He's newly relocated from Germany to Wisconsin. A wonderful horn player with decades of pro experience and a modest, decent guy to boot he said he's suffering big time from orchestra withdrawal. It was nice of him to slum with us for a set.

It was my last set of the season as co-principal with this orchestra and I felt pretty good about it despite some inexcusable fracks in Debussy's, Trois Nocturnes. I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't gotten the “let's just be friends” call the day of the Friday show. Oh, the spices of life. So it goes...

Monday, March 05, 2007

The Snow, I mean, the Show Must Go On.

Some are already calling it the blizzard of '07. Hundreds of miles of interstate closed, dozens of cars and trucks stuck in roadside drifts; throngs of stranded motorists; whiteout conditions for stretches long enough to recite significant portions of the Catholic rosary. But the show must go on. The people need their classical fix. They must have their Galway. And so we traveling musicians, we road warriors, we happy few, we... band of brothers (and sisters), risk life and limb and car and instrument to make that happen.

Therefore this addition to "Sights from the Road" is from the most recent commute between my little house on a hill and a DMS rehearsal 200+ miles away. Now keep this in mind: the first singular thought upon embarking on this drive was self and vehicle preservation, not travel documentation. As a result I probably missed what would have been the most striking images.

For example, at the very beginning of my journey as I was waiting for a safe gap to get on to highway 61 from my country lane, no more than a quarter mile into my trip, I was confronted with the sight of an overturned, snow swept SUV lying in the median; driver's side door still ajar, wheels in the air, looking like a bloated wildebeest carcass lying hooves up on the Serengeti yet to be scavenged.

Or when a semi-truck started to pass me on the left while we were going up a hill and then slowed to my speed boxing me in just as we crested. After cursing the driver for his indecision, I saw the sight he'd seen from his vantage few seconds earlier: over half a dozen trucks and cars strewn every which way on the down side of the hill. The sight made everyone coming over that hill rethink their travel priorities and recalculate their ETA.

By far the most dangerous parts of the trip were the numerous complete whiteouts caused by blowing snow. In Iowa there are lots of wide open areas without a trees for miles. There is no reason to believe, upon entering such a blindingly opaque environment, that you will be exiting it anytime soon. You can't brake because the asshole tailgating you. The only rule: keep any oncoming traffic on your left.

All in all, the trip was more exciting than anxiety provoking but I hope it's the last one like it I'll need to make this season. Oh, and the people seemed to like Galway. He's an audience ham and a lot shorter in person than I thought.