If there’s one thing that competes with my love of books, it’s my violin. And this week turned out to be more of a violin week than a book week.
After writing this post, I’m not sure how much sense it’s going to make to anyone who doesn’t play. Just take it like reading a fantasy story–music, like magic, is sometimes hard to translate.
Strings were starting to sound old this week, so I had to get new ones right before a performance. As in like five days before? For non-string players, understand this can be stressful.
Performance was already stressful. I wasn’t keen on changing strings.
But I did, and they sounded fine. Stayed in tune pretty well. I changed my E string last of all.
I’ve had a Pirastro E string nestled in my case for a while, looking up at me from its little envelope. Waiting. I don’t usually get Pirastro strings (because starving artists…gorgeous strings can get pricey), but this one had come with a pack of my usual brand. I’d been saving it for a special occasion. Can’t really say what or why, but apparently the day had come.
I opened the little paper envelope. Took the string out of the inner paper envelope (you know it’s special if it gets two all to itself). Tuned it up to the right pitch.
No, not quite. Not the right word. Not like a bell or an ordinary string. It just sang out, like a sweet girl’s voice echoing over high hills, getting softer as it faded, but still beautiful, still there, still…
It still squeaks at times like any other E string I’ve had. But that soaring sound…
Performance today. I was playing Libesfreud, a beautiful piece. But I must have been concentrating harder than I realized (really did want those opening thirds in tune and to nail the timing with the rubato) because of the question after I finished–
“…can she smile?”
Apparently I must have forgotten that.
In case you were wondering, I can smile. And I did. But it actually was quite touching to listen to three string players talk over themselves about
“It was good…”
“….so good, the phrasing”
“But your face…” etc.
So apparently I played well but looked like a dead fish.