It’s almost impossible to believe.
Tomorrow night, by this time, there will have been a.) a Full Moon; b.) an eclipse; c.) a visible comet ; and, d.) the realization of the intended performance of the Erie Chamber Orchestra’s piano trio, formerly titled “Strange Bedfellows.”
Strange. A few hours past 48 ago, a very strange thing happened, indeed.
Right in the middle of dress rehearsal, without a cross word ever spoken, without an evil eye, without any confrontation whatsoever, one member of the trio walked out.
Doing the math, that left us two: myself and one other musician, aghast and agape, respectively.
This was never done. No professional did this. Certainly, in my nearly 60 years, 30 of which having been spent as a Union card carrying pro, this had never happened. Nobody bailed at the dress rehearsal – and, got away with it.
Maybe the impending Full Moon, maybe the alignment of the planets and our star sun, maybe the schedule of the comet. Maybe the Almighty God. Somebody found Julie.
Julie was the kind of phenom who entered a room without even a peep of apparent genius. She dressed for comfort. Easy going, a bit chatty; carrying a bottle of water – and, her viola.
Julie had never seen our music before in her life. Most chamber musicians hadn’t. There are only nine works of music at IMSLP for oboe, viola, and piano – and, we were performing three of them.
As of tonight, Julie has now seen every note. Three hours of steamrolling accomplishing the entire rehearsal task, as I write this she is likely home, nursing a sprained ankle, seated at the music, tightening up the last loose end. And, tomorrow, by this time, she will have triumphed over an unprecedented adversity.
Power is an awesome force. Sometimes it is grasped after, with the last functional breath. And, sometimes, it descends upon a scene like soft rain. Tomorrow, by this time, in the eclipsed light of the Full Moon, comet streaking by, The Most Recent Piano Trio will have taken its place in a much smaller history. The power, on this serendipitous night, will have made its subtle and profound shift in the favor of three specks in the universe – three women, committed to making live music.
At this moment, the gift awaits.
What: “The Most Recent Piano Trio”: Hilary Philipp, oboe; Julie Von Volkenburg, viola; Yours truly, piano. Performing works by Charles Martin Loeffler; Felix White; and, August Klughardt. Cee Williams, and Dr. Gregory Brown, featured poets.
When: Friday, February 10, 2017
What time: 7:30 pm.
Where: Luther Memorial Church, Erie PA.
Extra parking in the West 11th lot.
Here is a YouTube link to our videotaped performance. Though I utilized the mute pedal at frequent intervals and the lid was down, the audio quality reflects the fact that we are performing in a church, and you will note reverb. I wish I were beautiful, but my nose is strong and my jaw is weak and I talk like a biddy and that is just the way it is; however, our oboeist and violist are both lovely, so if you do feast your ears, you may cast your eyes upon them for a truly satisfying experience. We didn’t compose this music, but we are certainly among the most fortunate for having had the opportunity to perform it for you.
*Update: Do we suspect, also, that either YouTube “adjusted” the volume whenever the music became quiet, i.e. effectively neutralizing all dynamic fluctations (the videographer calls this “compression”), or that the videocam had a built in “adjuster”? Sigh.
© Ruth Ann Scanzillo 2/9/17