There's a moment - a few weeks before the event - in which it seems like you might really surpass yourself. That your Mozart concerto, say, could be something really special. You have a good reed. You're working on small sections, or you're doing slow run-throughs, or you're tossing a single movement onto a CD Release recital, and you feel pretty unstoppable. But the closer you come to the actual performance date, the more it becomes clear that THIS is the you you are going to be, that THESE are the reeds you are going to have in your case, that miracles are not going to happen and thus THIS is how it's going to go. And it's a sort of a disappointment, you know?
I'm not actually disappointing, I know that. I'm playing well, and I love Mozart, and this concert will be tremendous fun. But it probably won't be transcendent. It probably won't live up to the potential that I sensed a month ago. It probably won't herald the dawn of a whole new me. It will be good and I will enjoy it but it will not be life-changing.
And it's ridiculous that this is even a conversation that I'm having with myself, right? OBVIOUSLY, that's too much baggage to attach to 22 minutes of music. Of COURSE this concerto, composed 240 years ago, isn't going to change anyone's life when I perform it Friday night.
I know that I am a better player - a better musician - a better colleague than I was years ago. And I'm always trying to improve. I will never get tired of trying to play better than I play, teach better than I teach, write better than I write.
I think the real problem is that I want this performance to be something it cannot be. The Mozart Oboe Concerto is marvelous, fantastic music, but it's not meant to represent all of lived experience. It's fluffy, exquisite fun, and my job is to present that and to present it well.
If my job is to let Mozart be Mozart - which it is - the perhaps my other job is to let Jennet be Jennet. It's OK to perform well and to love the experience of it without hating myself for not being better than I am.
I'm performing Mozart Friday night with the Northwest Indiana Symphony Details HERE.