The stage at Western Front
Our concert last night was bitter sweet for sure. I think it was our most settled show of the the tour. The listening was definitely deep, and the variety of sound was high. There were some moments of hilarity (PM and Erin did a duet that mostly involved Pui Ming sounding like she had a bad head cold!) and PM and I had a duet that was exceptionally tender and beautiful. Really memorable.
The Western Front was super supportive, setting up the lighting in the space and recording the show for us. It's quite an amazing and historic institution, professionally run and really serving artists. I wish there was something like it in Halifax. I guess The Khyber comes close but without the dedication to art music.
Pui Ming at The Front
The Western Front concert was such a different experience than Victoria. I learned a bit about how the feel of the hall, and the audience, play such an important role in a performance. In Victoria, we were at one end of a cinderblock chapel on a raised stage, with the audience 3 metres away. They were supportive, sure but we were so far removed! At the Front, we played in the round, with warm lighting and the audience very close. Within a meter of me were my old friend Ross, one of my favourite people and composers Hildegard Westerkamp and my oldest friend Alison. I couldn’t go wrong with that kind of support! And it makes such a difference.
This trip has been such a learning experience for me on several levels. I’ve learned that touring is harder than I could have known, support for planning, navigation, and driving would be an important addition to the next trip out. It’s pretty hard to do all that and then pull the cello out and be an artist! I found it really challenging to be focused on logistics and have the energy to switch gears and play. So next time we’ll have a tour manager!
In addition to the tour itself, I had some great chances to meet people and see old friends. Last night I met up with Lan Tung, a Vancouver Erhu player. We spent a couple of hours talking and playing together, I learned about bowed string instruments from around the world (which Lan collects during her frequent travels), got to play a couple. And we played together. She was a fantastic improviser, really pushing her instrument. She made that distinctive sound that we associate with Chinese music, but took it out! I also had coffee with Hildegard, who is wonderful to spend time with. Her work is so interesting, and her approach so compatible with my own.
Oh, and Al and I went for a walk in the big trees, I felt weird not getting into a BC forest while I was there, so we took little field trip up into the hills of North Vancouver! Every time I experience those big trees I experience this intense urge to spend some real time near them. Soon.
So now as I return to my real life, to my normal rhythm, I can reflect on how I might do things differently next time, and how I might harness these new inspirations to add to my future work! Next stop Halifax, then a little too quickly to Fredericton for more Pierrot Luniare.
Mar 13, 2012 at 19:49