Tell us about a time when everything actually turned out exactly as you’d hoped.
It’s one of life’s pleasures when you experience something perfect, or something that has turned out perfect. As a musician and performer I always want a performance to turn out the best it possibly can, and this has rubbed off on other areas of my life as well.
For example, I am never quite satisfied with what I write, whether that be a blog post, a story or even a piece of music. I am my toughest critic. I can be quite the perfectionist – half measures aren’t good enough. I think this originated, it has to be said, when I started receiving large amounts of criticism from other children when I moved primary school, and has been something that has affected many areas of my life ever since, including confidence in myself, my abilities and my work. So when something turns out perfect it really must be perfect, because everything I do seems less adequate to myself than others might think.
Music gives me the greatest amount of liberty in life I think. When I play music, I am communicating with my audience, or even just to myself. I am speaking my mind through another language. Music is a language – it’s the language of emotion. There is so much more you can express through music, I find, than expressing things with words, and I use it largely for that purpose because it gives me vast amounts of happiness and enjoyment, as well as satisfaction.
I enjoy playing with friends in chamber groups because it’s like a perfectly harmonious conversation between players, and the more you perfect how you play the music (or the more you get it closer to how you want to express it) the more harmonious it becomes. I am generally not someone who is open with their deepest emotions, however this is a subtle way of digging deep into your heart and finding a way to say these things. That’s why I love music especially.
Recently I performed with four friends the 3rd movement of Schubert’s String Quintet for 2 Violins, Viola and 2 Cellos, in two concerts. The wonderful thing about this movement is that it has two contrasting sections – it starts with a joyous, fast-moving and extravagant Scherzo, which is in a major key, and then moves onto a fairly slow, relaxed, expressive and utterly beautiful Trio, and then it returns to the Scherzo for a fantastic ending. I strongly suggest it – you can find a YouTube video here. This recording is quite good, largely because of the communication between the players, although I’m not a massive fan of the cellists in this one – however the violinists and the viola player are fantastic, so it’s well worth the listen!
We have been carefully working on this movement for a few months now, and we are also doing the 1st and 2nd movements now, as well as entering the Edinburgh Competition Festival with the 3rd movement. I love playing chamber music, and writing chamber music too, all because I love the communication between players. Understanding that connection is the key to both writing and playing chamber music, and without it there would be no purpose I don’t think. As I felt when playing the Schubert above, chamber music is just perfect.
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