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Listening to the Mendelssohn octet (1st movement) and wondering how it is that this particular first violinist finds himself/herself so very prominent. Such a tone, that cuts over, not even deigning to go through, all the others. This happens far too often (cf. my recording of notte natalie, where the violinists seem to think they're soloists and blast out the harmony while the poor cellist is playing his heart out to no avail). Academy Chamber ensemble... ah, that's why -- it's not the recording I usually listen to. Switched to Prazack Quartet - Kocian Quartet, warmer more together sound. Not sure if I like it more just out of habit, or actual thought. At any rate, for now I'm too tired to put up with the unfamiliar. Britten and ballets tomorrow. For now, let me have my comfort food.

I'm taking a short break from celloing because I don't like my etude. It sounds crunchy every time I play it, and I can't figure out why -- probably because I don't enjoy playing it, and my cello picks up on that and, in its gentil way, tries to agree with me. Sometimes cellos need to be more contrary, to give you something to push against. Although then Costja at home goes too far and is stronger than me and was asserting his dominance over winter break to the detriment of my wrists, so I need to learn how to tame him. He needs a worthy adversary. It might take a while...

I've been thinking a lot in the last few days about ways to practise and ways to cello -- celloing I think being the act of fiddling purposely with one's cello, not just playing, but exploring. There's a way of concentrating very hard and then fooling your brain into thinking you're not thinking, which is the only way to be relaxed and poised and precise all at the same time, at least for me. As soon as your brain realises you made it think (god forbid), it panics and then everything goes tense again. So difficult to maintain that state. I took a video of myself playing the Haydn Concerto in C and watched it afterwards. It was like watching a film with remarkably irritating characters: "Yeeees, yes, oh, that's good -- no, argh, NO, don't go through that door. Aah, what are you doing?! Oh, okay, now you do the right thing. Yeah, yeeees, good good goo-- WHAT? AGAIN? Why'd you--?! Oh, I can't watch!" Cue train crash. All right, not as bad as that, but that is how it feels watching yourself play. One valuable thing I'm getting better at hearing is the difference in tone between when I'm relaxed and when I'm tense. It's a subtle difference at first, but once you hone on it, it really seems like a world of difference in tone quality and even affects the interpretation of the piece. Of course, I can only maintain that sound and relaxation for 3 seconds max. I have proof in the form of many 3-second clips that end in raspiness. Sighhhh...

So, back to work, slow slowww work. Think train crash, only in slow motion, black and white. And every time you're about to see the collision, the film abruptly stops and starts back from the beginning. I figure there are only so many reels of film I can go through before I decide I'm just going to have to go with that last clip. Maybe by the weekend, I'll be up to 4 seconds! :D <------ this is a forced smile.

Bonne soirée!

P.S. In other news, happy birthday Stephen! :D



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