Jacob Heringman, lutenist - Diary
Back in sunny South London, tired but glad to be home. The garden is absolutely stunning, with many of Zanís roses in full bloom. This is in some ways the best time of year. Summer is still young, the colours and the smells are intoxicating, and the fresh beauty of everything is almost overwhelming.
The tour was a real learning experience: I did three solo concerts of Josquin, which were well received, three ensemble concerts with various others, two master classes, and some private teaching. It was all very new to me; Iíd never before had the experience of doing a solo programme several times in quick succession like that. I found it extremely rewarding, being allowed to do the same pieces repeatedly. Itís such good music that one always finds new things in it, and itís such demanding music that it never gets easy and always requires 100 percent commitment. Two of the three concerts were quite good I thought, and the third, for lots of complicated reasons, was disappointing for me, though the audience seemed to like it. (I think itís mainly myself that was unsatisfied.) Iíd also not done a lot of master classes before, and itís a new and strange experience to teach a series of people for half an hour each in succession, while others look on. One has to address oneís remarks to the auditors as much as to the active participant. I wasnít quite sure whether Iíd have anything useful to say to these people, but it seems I did. The teaching went down well. Also on the tour, I saw my mother (she flew out to Bloomington for the first concert) and brother with girlfriend (they came to the Berkeley concerts). So it was a full and intense time. Gail, who arranged the tour, was a great host, and it was nice to stay with them in Chicago. Iíll be back for another tour in October/November.
Meanwhile, back in Streatham, thereís the beautiful summer to enjoy, and a pile of correspondence on my desk and in the email in-basket to answer, and a trip to Japan in twelve daysí time. 22.25 Itís raining, at last! Weíve had several days of really intense heat in South London, complete with hay fever and shriveled garden, but also beautiful luxurious long evenings. The other night we ate outside and remained there talking and watching night fall until 11 pm. Itís heaven to be together, under the stars, picking up the scent of the roses and savouring the summer evening! Weíre celebrating our first year of marriage (and our thirteenth year of knowing each other!). Zan received the first edit of her new disc with Fretwork today, and weíve been listening to it and planning the order of pieces. Thereís some real magic on this new disc, and I hope it does well. Weíve also been rehearsing with the New London Consort for tomorrowís concert in the Spitalfields Festival in London. I hadnít touched a lute for nearly a week now, and Iím realising that Iíve really needed this break. Soon work begins for the next DGM solo disc. Watch this space! Meanwhile, Iím off to Japan for ten days from the 29th of June. We had a good talk today, Zan and I, and drew some conclusions: --we donít laugh as much as we used to --perhaps weíre feeling and acting a bit care-worn --our annoyances and frustrations with particular colleagues who are difficult to work with because they are egocentric and power-crazed and not interested in the deeper meanings of music--these annoyances are specks of dust in the grand scheme of things. Why? Because such petty people, though they make our lives difficult in the present moment, are themselves but momentary specks of dust in the universe. (For that matter, so are we!) --our current financial worries (which, I have to admit, are preying on our minds) are as nothing in greater scheme of things conclusions: --our lives are here and now! letís make the most of it; letís remember how lucky we are to have each other, and to have our lives, and our health, and our music! --letís not take things too seriously--thereís no point. Donít get bogged down in these petty annoyances. Keep your perspective. Remember to enjoy the adventure which is life. Remember that you are full of love, and allow yourself to feel that love and to give it freely to all people you meet. Remember to laugh!!!! 00.18 Late! About to sink into bed, exausted. Enjoyed Hughís wonderful photo of Earthworks with Larry Coryell. I too was at the gig last night (sitting two feet away from Hugh, as a matter of fact), with the "DGM contingent". It was a superb and inspiring show, from start to finished. I was transfixed by Bill (as I always am) and the other three Earthworkers, all of whom are brilliant, and by the magnificent playing of Larry Coryell. Bill is a pleasure to watch, his body the picture of efficiency and relaxation, but his alert eyes darting in all directions as he picks up musical clues from his colleagues. The man looks like heís in heaven when heís playing, and itís an inspiration to me to hear and see someone who loves his music that much. Patrick Clahar is a fiendishly good saxophonist; the towering and maniacal Mark Hodgson is in complete command of his bass, and seems to be in several places at once most of the time (Hughís photo is accurate in that respect); Steve Hamilton is a brilliant and solid pianist. Iíd urge everyone to go and hear Earthworks. As for Coryell, what can one say? Heís a master. His playing and his presence were simply wonderful. (Iíve been a fan for many years.) Bill remembered me after only having met once briefly before, and, with his amazingly sharp memory, knew exactly when and where we had met (it was over a year ago!). Itís been an exciting couple of days, with new developments on the career front, most noteably the addition of a formidable ally in Melanne Mueller, who has agreed to work with me as an agent/manager. With her excellent skills and experience behind me, I canít help thinking that things are looking up in my quest for solo performance opportunities. Watch this space. Zan is working in France, and Iím working away at my desk trying to catch up with correspondence, chores, emails etc. before disappearing to Japan on the 29th. At some stage, I must pick up a lute and start practising again, too! Iíll email the Japanese tour schedule to Dan in a minute, and interested Japanese website visitors will be able to find the details on the Tour Dates page from tomorrow, I hope. Thank you, Dan. If anyone reads about this tour (or any of my others) on the DGM website and decides to come to one of the shows, please come up and say hello afterwards. It would be nice to meet you.
Sunday night: itís getting late--so much to do. Iíve taken advantage of Zanís absence to make a stab at putting things in order. Iíve actually more or less cleared my desk (miracle!), and answered most of the emails I needed to answer. Iíve put together the programme for a concert of French Airs de cour which Iíll be doing at the South Bank Centre in London on the 9th of September. I liaised with various people in the States and Canada about the October/November tour. I communicated with Andrew Keeling and Elizabeth Liddle about their contributions to Virelaiís projected cycle of contemporary settings of renaissance love poems. Also, I made a little bit of a start on planning the next solo DGM disc. I have to get going on this sooner rather than later, because Iím performing the programme in October/November. Finally, last but not least, I watered the garden and picked and ate strawberries. Heaven.
Andrew Keeling and I had a nice chat on the phone this morning. Every fifty or so emails, we call each other up. Itís strange to hear the voice of someone you communicate by email with frequently but rarely talk to. I shall unfortunately miss him when he comes down to London for the Big Event on 3 July. Iíll be very sorry to miss the concert too. But on that day, Iíll be in Tokyo.
Wonderful visit from Matt Wadsworth yesterday. Heís a fellow lute player who lives not so far from here. We talked at length about some of our common preoccupations, most noteably the difficulty of making a living, particularly if you are someone who, like Matt and myself, doesnít want to compromise artistically (or, to put it another way, doesnít want to do work he doesnít enjoy or find musically rewarding).
And now, I must check to see if my e-lute (thatís lute tuned in e, not "electronic lute") is ready for tomorrowís rehearsal with Angus Smith. Weíre preparing for our concert in London on 12 June.
By the way, I discovered last night during the process of working on my application for a British passport, that Iíve been outside of the UK (where I live) for 279 days during the last three years. This means Iím abroad about three months out of every year. And thatís just travels outside England. Touring in the UK comes on top of that. I would estimate that Iím at home about two thirds of the year, and on the road the rest of the time. I suppose thatís not too bad for a performing musician. I certainly have colleagues who are on the road a good deal more than that. Itís just that I donít really do big tours. Three weeks is the longest, and more usual is just a short trip for a couple of nights to do only one or two concerts. This means that thereís a great deal of coming and going, and not much prolonged touring. Iím not sure which is more tiring. Sometimes Iím tempted to wonder what it would be like to have a job that involves living and working in the same place more or less all the time. Iíd probably like it for a few months and then get horribly restless.
Itís midnight on June 26th. On this day one year ago, Susanna and I married each other. Sheíll be back on Tuesday, and weíll have another celebration. Thereís much to celebrate when two people who belong together find each other.
Itís Wednesday evening in this time zone, and Iím about to knock off to enjoy a final dinner with Zan before flying off to the far east tomorrow, for my first ever visit to Japan, about which Iím very excited, never having been there before. Itís been a day of practising, correspondence, and miscellaneous chores, mainly.
Practising: mainly for Japan, but also delving into the new DGM solo project, which I will tour in October/November, and which I intend to record sometime between about December and February, depending mainly on my readiness and on financial considerations.
Correspondence: email is a great thing! Itís so easy to communicate with people around the world, and my phone bill has certainly gone down. Iíve been sending mail back and forth furiously to Tjasa in Slovenia, where Virelai will be premiering two new pieces by Andrew Keeling in August. Andrew and I have exchanged a lot of emails today too. Iím thrilled to learn that the Festival in Radovljica, where weíre playing (itís near Ljubljana, apparently), wants to fly him out to be present for the premiere of his new pieces. Iím just waiting to hear back from Andrew. Iím crossing my fingers and hoping heís free. Iíd love him to be there. Also an email from a London-based musicologist speaking very highly of the Josquin release. Itís great to have meaningful and constructive feedback. Iíve also greatly enjoyed the new-found contact with label-mate Tony Geballe.
Chores--too boring to recount. But we do have a new garden shed, and itís a splendid specimen.
I enjoyed reading in RFís Diary this morning that heís experimenting with new fingerings. I think that the thing I love most about Robert is that he never ever closes his mind to the new.