Here I am again, in the phase immediately after culminating the project. Sometimes this is an empty time, but right now I'm flying high and too busy to be sad.
I LOVED playing Chen's Extase on Sunday. I love being on stage under any circumstances, and I'm utterly committed to that great piece, and I really loved my dress. It was a wonderful day of being a star and I wish every Sunday could be like that.
I was surprised and delighted with the reception the audience gave to the Chen. I knew that it was a great piece, but was concerned that our relatively conservative Sunday afternoon audience would struggle to listen past the pitch-bending and the loud percussion. I imagined them walking out, or at least leaving at intermission. So the Maestro and I spoke before we started, and introduced the piece, the tune, and the techniques.
We played it - we were good. The orchestra was wonderful, and I was pleased with my playing. I missed one obvious gliss up to a high Ab that didn't speak, but there was plenty of time left in the piece for them to forget and I showboated the heck out of the final cadenzas. We got a huge standing ovation, and many many people came up to speak to me afterwards, some visibly moved. (Others just complimented my dress). I was proud of my work - the past 11 months of practice culminated just the way they were supposed to, and I'm a far stronger player for having learned this difficult piece.
It's a little sad to put Extase away now. I'm looking actively for more performance opportunities, but at the moment it is back on the shelf. There's an empty spot in my practice day.
That said, my next step is obvious. I have to bring Ewazen's Down a River of Time to performance level in 3 1/2 weeks. I love the Ewazen, and I know it - and it's even pretty fresh in my brain as I have been listening to it and teaching it for the last month. Now all I have to do is play it on the oboe…convincingly… and soon. I'm running movements now, and will do some recording this weekend so I can hear what I'm doing wrong - or right. I'll be going over the memorization on all of my runs from here on, and by next week I plan to do full run-throughs. I'm fast-tracking my preparation, and loving every minute.