I am so happy and relieved to be making live music for real people once again.
Our experiences of the last six months have transformed each of our lives in ways we are only gradually discovering.
One thing I have realized is that my favorite pieces of music are like my closest friends. Always there to make you feel so much better no matter how difficult life might be. Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (1787) and Dvorak’s Serenade for Strings (1875) are two such dear friends. I played both works for the first time when I was 9 or 10 years old. I remember having the strange feeling that somehow, even that first time, I knew them and I knew them well!Was I born humming those tunes? Is it possible that after decades and centuries of immense popularity, this music has entered our human collective memory? Do Mozart and Dvorak now “live” in our DNA simply waiting to be passed down to future generations? Perhaps.On the other hand, maybe it’s more like it is with really good friends. You just feel like you’ve known them all your life!
Another thing which became important to me during these challenging lockdown months was the way we say goodbye to each other. I’ve luckily had the opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to many of the people who have meant the most to me in my life. I have even said a proper “goodbye” to some. But so many others have passed away quietly and modestly. Sometimes months before I even learned of their passing! Each time this happened, I was compelled to try and recall the quality of our “goodbye” the last time we saw each other. Did I express my love and appreciation for them sufficiently? And if not, how can I make up for that? When I learned some months ago that Kristof Penderecki had died, I was saddened. Although he was not a close friend, I was nevertheless terribly frustrated not to have had the opportunity to express my gratitude to him personally for his extraordinary works (many of which have been the direct inspiration for my own compositions!) It is for this reason that I have programmed Sinfonietta for Strings, (one of my favorite of his pieces) for our concert this evening. Written originally for String Trio in 1991, he chose to transcribe and expand it for Strings Orchestra the following year.
Thank you and Goodbye, Maestro Penderecki.