Monday, December 8, 2014

Reading/Performance at Centro Español/La Nacional

Before the memory fades too much, I'd like to write a few words about the reading/performance with Juan Navidad last Tuesday, December 2, at Centro Español in New York City.  This came about on very short notice; the space had become available a bit less than a week before.

There is currently no piano in the space.  While I do have a traveling keyboard I sometimes use for situations like these, I had other obligations earlier in the day that would have made it difficult to lug a keyboard, stand, and other assorted equipment all over the city.  So I decided, instead, to arrange two of the pieces for violin and backing track, and write a third piece to go along with them.  The results turned out well.  The performance was not recorded, unfortunately, but subsequent ones surely will be.  Playing violin in front of people again felt really good!

El Timón de la Suerte ("The Rudder of Fate") works very well on the violin; better, in fact, than on the piano.  While the middle section still needs a bit of tinkering, the outer sections definitely came across very well during this performance.  I was worried about El Reloj de la Impaciencia ("The Clock of Impatience"), but after some serious wood-shedding it turned out much better than expected.  It's still basically a piano piece, but the violin version is worthwhile.

The third piece of the evening was Diamante Crudo ("Rough diamond").  The sentence points out that every diamond starts as an ugly piece of rock, and the music begins with a rather ungainly set of pitches and rhythms, which are gradually refined into something beautiful.

One of the highlights of the evening for me was hearing Juan talk about his experiences.  He became a writer because he was upset at the misinformation he found in the popular children's books he grew up with.  Real life stood (and stands) at a respectable distance from the way things were portrayed in those fictional universes!  Juan spoke about his passion for encouraging people to pursue their dreams, and, where possible, putting tools into their hands to allow them to do so.

We'll be in the same space again on January 21, so mark your calendar!  My current plan is to play violin, have a few more pieces to perform, and get at least some of it recorded.  We'll see how things develop.

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