Jacob Heringman, lutenist - Diary
Iíve had a quiet time the last few days, spent mostly recovering from a crazy time in the USA and catching up a little with correspondence and "good deeds" (sending music and CDs and so on to people who have requested them). Lots of sleep, which I really needed. Zan is away teaching at the early music summer school at West Dean, which she does every year at this time. Iím about to go down there for a couple of days, to be near her and to practise for my upcoming Josquin recital in the Flanders Festival in Antwerp.
Been reading some of Rumiís poetry, and finding it fascinating, though the translation I chose (Nicholson) is very old-fashioned and a little bit off-putting. I have a feeling this poetry must speak in a more colloquial and immediate language (without, of course, falling prey to too much new-fangled and dated colloquialism), a simple language which will keep its force.
I also keep coming back to one particular track on Soundscapes: Live in Argentina; itís the second track, entitled "2000". It is a fantastic piece of music. The cycles of different lengths which all proceed at the same time, but unfolding at vastly different rates create a feeling of the cycles of nature--the slow and low-pitched patterns are like the rise and fall of mountains and the drift of continents, or perhaps like the rotation of the most distant planet. The faster patterns are like the seasons, and the fastest are like night and day endlessly alternating. Is this the music of the spheres?
Technically, it appears to be a vast Passacaglia with a chromatically descending bass line (like some of the greatest Passacaglias written in the old days), with all the sweeping emotional power that such pieces often have.
Itís Sunday evening, and Iím just catching up on some deskwork before Zan gets home from rehearsing all day with Fretwork. Tomorrow at the crack of dawn we both leave, Zan for Holland, and I for a village in Suffolk, where Iíll be giving a concert with Jennie Cassidy and Philip Thorby at 12 noon.
Zan is in the midst of an insane schedule. Sheís just finished her week of teaching at West Dean, and from that, with no time to rest, she launched straight into a gruelling series of concerts with different people in different places, one after the other. On Friday and Saturday, she had concerts (and long journeys to get there) of completely different repertoires. Today sheís rehearsing. Tomorrow she travels to Holland and has a rehearsal and a radio interview. Tuesday she has two different concerts in Utrecht, followed by a midnight drive to Antwerp to do a 12 noon concert there on Wednesday. Ironically, I arrive in Antwerp later that day, but sheíll already have done her concert by then, and headed off to Germany where she has concerts on Thursday and Friday. Frustrating or what? But kind of comical at the same time. And exhausting for her!
On Friday night and Saturday morning sheíll be driving back from Germany overnight with Fretwork in order to make it to a wedding in London on Saturday afternoon where weíll all meet. But immediately after the wedding (and before the reception) I have to rush off to Hengrave Hall to meet with about 25 amateur lute players and a couple of professionals for whatís left of a weekend course there for lutenists. Iíll arrive home late Sunday night. Then, thank heavens, we both have some time at home to recover.
Well, you only live once. Might as well go for it.
Speaking of which, Iíve been practising my beloved Josquin programme, in preparation for what I see as an important concert next Friday: my debut solo recital for the Flanders Festival. The Antwerp portion this year focuses on Josquin, so my programme is right up their street. I look forward to it. And, as usual, Iíve so enjoyed immersing myself in preparation. Iíve been moving forward technically, which makes me happy. Now I wish I could make the Josquin CD all over again!
Yesterday I had a rehearsal and an Alexander lesson with Gabriela, who is a Brazilian singer and Alexander teacher. She sings all kinds of music, from Brazilian to renaissance, and she and I have been working on some sixteenth-century songs in Portuguese and Spanish. What a wonderful singer! And a good teacher too. She helped me a lot yesterday with some of the issues related to holding the lute comfortably and not getting a backache. Itís nice to hear a singer who has worked so much on breathing and poise. The voice sounds free and natural and effortless.