Very Happy Practicing Indeed

I'm having one of those amazing days where my viola feels like an extension of my body, and everything is simply WORKING. After waking up and making coffee, I unpacked my viola and started with some simple warm ups to get the blood flowing. After about 20 minutes I was ready to delve into repertoire. I didn't keep track of when I started my practice sessions, but I'm pretty sure that I've already worked for a good 3 1/2 to 4 hours today!

See, I have a recital coming up in three weeks (Thursday 26 Feb, 7:30 PM in Sursa), but due to unfortunate and unforeseeable circumstances, Lori Rhoden is no longer able to perform with me then. I found this out a few days ago, and have been thinking about how to handle the situation. While postponing the recital is an option, I don't want to bother Lori right now with scheduling issues, plus the hall is almost totally booked for the rest of the semester. I could probably find a different pianist and perform the program as originally planned, however, I was truly enjoying collaborating with Lori and hope that she'll want to play with me in the future.

So perhaps I could change repertoire? 

This is awfully ambitious to do three weeks out, but I started looking at pieces I've played in the past, and have come up with a plan. There's still the possibility that I'll postpone or cancel the recital, but after today's practice sessions, I actually think I can do this. I haven't figured out the program order yet, but if everything goes according to plan, I'll perform the Hindemith Solo Sonata Op. 25, No. 1 as well as the Reger Solo Suite No. 1. Libby Crawford and I have been talking about performing the Rebecca Clarke Duo for Viola and Clarinet, and she's going to come over shortly and we're going to read through the music and see what we think. Having just started looking at the viola part, it will definitely require some work, but I love the music so am inspired to get it together. 

What's fun about the Hindemith and Reger is that I am currently teaching both pieces to my various graduate students. So while I have not performed the Reger in a few years, and the Hindemith in almost a decade, the music and required techniques are quite familiar in my mind.

The only time I performed the Hindemith was on my Master's recital, back in 2005. It is a very difficult work, and even though I started teaching it last semester, I have not REALLY looked at it since '05. So this has been a very interesting morning, because I'm finding that the piece is not nearly as difficult as it was 10 years ago. Perhaps that shouldn't be surprising, but it is informative. I am finding that many of the hints I had written in the part when I was learning the music are no longer necessary, and that is quite gratifying. The incredibly taxing fourth movement isn't as bad as I remember it either-- granted, it is still very much under tempo. But it's refreshing to see that all of the work I've put in over the last ten years (and more, of course) is so tangibly paying off. 

Now, don't get me wrong. I know there's a chance that I will not be able to pull together a program of this magnitude in so short an amount of time, but given today's amazing practice sessions, I am hopeful that I will be able to.

Very happy practicing indeed!