Monday, December 3, 2007
The good times just get better...
Dave and I hosted our second muziekavond last night and are still reeling in afterglow 20 hours later.
The afternoon offered a surprise when, two hours before guests were to arrive (and Carly was up to her elbows in vol au vent pastry baking), Heren blew a major circuit and we were without power...up until 15 minutes before guests started arriving.
(Note to self: Although finishing up the whites, starting a load of dishes, warming the oven AND running all of our recording gear might win me a GE Multi Tasking purple heart, perhaps I should save my Martha Stewart savoir faire for a day when we aren't expecting 30 guests at our door.) (Noted and noted again.)
But with the angel-like help of Daan and Rodrigo (neighboors...Piraat's parents) and their kitchen, and Carly's ability to punt, the night went on. And went on with lots of style and heart.
Because we had prepared to go on in the dark, every candle in the house had been drafted to light rooms and hallways, leaving an absolutely stunning ambience (in fact, both D and I were almost a little disappointed when the power came on and our house was filled yet again with electric light. There's something so quiet and still about a candle-lit room). We kept the candles burning throughout the night.
The program was a highlight of what was happening in French music and art from roughly 1880-1910. Specifically Monet, Debussy and Ravel. I played four solo piano pieces and had the absolute delight of playing Debussy's Sonata for Violin and Piano with my dear friend and violinist Estee Dwan. During the entire music program, Dave had slow-transitioning images of about 20 of Monet's paintings beaming through our stained-glass windows, covering our ceiling.
Since I have such a hankering for witty yet intelligent banter (as I truly find myself altogether quite entertaining), I mixed the music up with some basic explanations of how this music came to be...tracing the roots of tonal music and what that is, to the eventual deviation from it around the turn of the 20th century.
To help with this explanation, Dave helped me create a handout (see above). I was trying to explain the relationship between the tonic, dominant and sub-dominant chords (the I, IV and V), and how the hierarchical structure of tonality started to dissipate and change with Debussy.
(Translation: the I, IV, and V..."Three chords and the truth..." = the foundational composition "colors" for classical music - Mozart, Beethoven, romantic music - Schubert, Brahms, Liszt...not to mention nearly every country, gospel, blues and rock and roll song loved and cherished today).
(Needless to say, D and I iterated more than a few times..."who does this with their spare time?" Apparently, we do.)
Following a brief intermission, Estee and I continued with a few Christmas pieces I arranged for piano and violin which involved much improvisation between the two of us. It was a blast. I think we could've played all night.
There is something pure magic about these nights. Maybe that's just the voice of a host speaking, but I really believe that there's something special brewing. Neighbors and friends from every corner of the globe coming together to enjoy food, wine, music and each other. There are new introductions being made in every corner of the house, each one doing its bit to tighten the belt around this ever-shrinking small world.
And it would be deceiving to omit mention of my joy being able to play at these events...to try new pieces, to talk about the connectivity between art and artists over the last three centuries, to have a reason to think through what communicates best...to have a living breathing canvas. It's an amazing gift to me to be able to do this.
Doing all of this with Dave is the best...my partner in crime, my creative counterpart, technical manager, host-with-the-most, and unabashed cheerleader. I love you, sweets. You're the best.
To those of you reading from overseas, I enthusiastically invite you to any of our future muziekavonden here. We have a glass of wine poured for you...