Two Rehearsals by Miriam Sagan

I’m lucky enough to live in Santa Fe, where the Chamber Music festival has free rehearsals. I’ve been sitting there, writing away in my notebook, inspired by music. Here are two rehearsals. I think they are also part of the much longer project, 100 Cups of Coffee, which is basically 100 journal entries. I’ve done more than 80, and am about 20 months into it. It’s going to need editing, and some expansion towards the end. Right now, these sections fit thematically, but of course don’t include coffee as I was in the rehearsal hall. I’ll have to find a way to weave in these coffeless bits.

July 18, 2017
St Francis Auditorium
Chamber Music Rehearsal
Giuliani Duo Concertant in E Minor

Stop. Start.
Guitar and violin.
Thunderhead clouds.
I’m in a bad mood—one of those days when conversations deteriorate.
Dark haired woman in hot pink and kelly green dress,
Playing the violin barefoot.
Things don’t end sharply enough.
The guitar player smiles beatifically.
She asks a woman in the audience who is taking notes—how does it sound?
Fantastic, the woman says.
I agree, I can’t hear the subtlety she is going for.
How many times I’ve looked at these bad—sentimental—murals in the St. Francis auditorium. St Clare rejecting the worldly life in a Pre-Raphaelite fashion. The Cross reaching higher than the Aztec priest’s staff. Christopher Columbus—must be him—dreaming of sails at sunset.

Rehearsals are confusing.
So is actual life.

The same problematic measure over and over.


August 2, 2017
Robert Schumann
Piano Quintet in E-flat major, opus 44 (1842)

The first violinist wants the pianist to do THIS.
It seems so special, amazing, to be walking around needing only a stringed instrument to produce these notes.
The piece so familiar to my ear yet essentially unknown.
Notes falling and falling and falling etc.
How each person in the audience contains an entire world, remains mysterious,even to themselves.

Sorrow, greed, opinion, accomplishment, secrets, lunch.

Poor Schumann, dying in the insane asylum.

Who can walk down an avenue in a great city and say—I am complete.

Now the violinist is playing the cello! Showing off or to prove a point. The cellist is laughing.
Rich whispers the riff is by Saint Saens.

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