Celebrating a Year

Archive for the ‘July’ Category

July 30, 2017

with 2 comments

Today I leave, not exactly as planned. I can’t take the ferry back to the airport because my flight doesn’t leave until tomorrow. So I take one to Hong Kong and then a taxi to the airport. From there it’s a short walk on a raised walkway to my hotel. The original plan had been to check into my hotel and then take the airport train to town to look around. But it’s 96, feels-like 114. And my Google Alert says “Very Unhealthy air quality” and warns of danger of heat stroke. And so this is my photo of Hong Kong. I pragmatically decide that today is a day to relax and enjoy a spa day at my luxurious hotel. So I paddle about in the outdoor pool, close my eyes and daydream in a poolside lounge chair, take advantage of the huge cedar sauna, and watch some TV news in English, for the first time since I left home. Tomorrow I will be home and I am so ready for reentry.

Advertisements

Written by mairmusic

August 13, 2017 at 1:33 pm

Posted in July

July 29, 2017

with 2 comments

A last walk around Macau today, stopping to pay tribute to the goddess who watches over the harbor. I pack up, get room service for dinner, get ready and head to the concert hall. And it’s showtime! You can see my folder on the music stand in front of the harpist. All goes well. As the conductor put it, as he zooms past us after the show, “Good, good, some little things, but good.” I did see him look annoyed at the singers at a couple of points, I assume when something was wrong with an entrance. But he looked delightedly at me when I made my first entrance– I’m assuming because, with the raised platform, he finally heard me as loudly as he wished. I am spent and head home to finish packing and sleep.

Written by mairmusic

July 30, 2017 at 9:30 pm

Posted in July

July 28, 2017

with 2 comments

A quiet day. I re-figure my entrance cues, now that my first entrance is right after the cut to the score that the conductor made yesterday. I have four entrances, I’m not in for long each time, but every time I mark a change of mood and am nearly solo, so all has to be perfect. I read for awhile in a park near the hotel and then head off for rehearsal– there are two today. The afternoon one goes better– the singers have rehearsed alone in the morning and the one who was muffing cues is much improved. I have got the new entrance point figured out, a big relief. I go out to dinner with two of my new friends from Taiwan, also guest musicians for the performance, before heading back for dress rehearsal. The conductor decides the harp and I should be raised up slightly on a platform, and so we are. I listen to the first-half piece, by Mahler, and then our final run-through goes wonderfully well. I feel good about the performance tomorrow.

Written by mairmusic

July 30, 2017 at 9:16 pm

Posted in July

July 27, 2017

with 2 comments

We’re rehearsing with the singers for the first time today, but not until evening. So I take a taxi to the second island of Macau, Taipa. There I check some of the must-do’s off my list– eat an egg tart from Lord Snow, a pork chop on bun from the hole-in-the-wall shop that made them famous, an almond cookie that tastes like a sawdust shortbread. Note: they also add pork, squid, or sesame seed to the cookies, which seems like a crazy idea to westerner, me.. I visit the “green museums,” a series of small colonial houses, yes, a pale green stucco, walk in the lotus garden beyond them, and visit two small temples. It would be a lovely calm day, but it’s 95, feels-like 104. By time I get to the taxi home I feel like I have heatstroke. Rehearsal in the evening is fraught with anxiety– the main singer has not got his rhythms right, and does not follow the conductor well, which throws the latter into a rage. There are more cuts to the score, including the 30 measures before my first entrance, removing all my carefully memorized clues. I also mis-hear the conductor for the cut and so miss my entrance by a measure. OK, back to the drawing board before tomorrow.

Written by mairmusic

July 30, 2017 at 8:48 pm

Posted in July

week 459 ~ solemnity of sacred space

with 2 comments

solemnity of sacred space
cool against the swirl of commerce
forcing thoughts to pause we immerse
ourselves honor this ancient place
of prayer and hope the fame we chase
fades we breathe and can simply be
for a moment here lost but free
to reflect allow gratitude
to fill us and in solitude
acknowledge the joy of beauty

Written by mairmusic

July 29, 2017 at 2:43 am

July 26, 2017

with 2 comments

When I arrive at the rehearsal hall this morning there is a microphone waiting for me. Uh oh. My part is marked ppp and at its loudest mp, so I have been trying to balance between the composer’s directive and the need to be heard, because the orchestra texture thins out at each of my 4 entrances and my part is important. But I guess the maestro has decided I need a little help. Amplification never works out well for one instrument in an acoustic setting unless it’s done by an expert, and this isn’t, but I have to let it run its course. And as I prepare for my second entrance, the oboe and flute wince at the sudden squeal of feedback and the tech hurries over to turn the mic off. Reprieve for today, but we’ll see what tomorrow brings– in the big hall with the singers. After practice I stop at the Museum of Handover Gifts, and wander through the display of all the welcome presents given to Macau by the other Chinese provinces when it was given back by Portugal in 1999. Large sculptures mixing old with new and full of symbolism, it presents an impressive display. Unfortunately the reflections off the glass make for poor photos so above is only one detail of a large sculpture. As I continue toward home I stumble on a paper store– hooray! I love the simple notebooks with odd English brand names and pick up a few. But my main thrill of the day is the bakery/restaurant next door with bright green cakes and loaves of bread in the window. Intrigued I step in and order an egg salad sandwich on green-tea bread to go, heading back to the hotel for a delicious solitary lunch.

Written by mairmusic

July 27, 2017 at 6:26 am

Posted in July

July 25, 2017

with 2 comments

It is a day for boldness. Braised eggplant stuffed with squid for breakfast. Trusting the preparation and counting and entering with assurance at rehearsal. Deciding to transcend casinos and luxury imported goods to try to find the bit of China that is left in Macau. Macau was a Portuguese colony until 1999, and I have been enjoying the mosaic sidewalks and colonial buildings that remind me of Rio. But I am in China now, and I want to find some architectural representations of that fact, so after rehearsal I catch a taxi to the A-Ma temple. Built in 1488, this temple to the Chinese sea goddess Mazuis is one of the oldest in Macau and a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it doesn’t disappoint. There is a serenity about the spot that remains even with its present isolation in the low-rent car-repair district surrounded by highway. So even in the stultifying humidity and heat, I am glad to have come and pause to take in bit of this culture so different from my own. But returning, alas, proves harder than arriving. There is no hotel concierge to call me a taxi here, and there appear to be no taxis in need of a fare for a couple of miles as I trudge back in the general direction of home, light-headed from heat and exhaust fumes. Finally I spot an empty cab and gratefully crawl in to ride the rest of the way. I arrive, my energy spent, and fall asleep while trying to catch up on the news on my computer, missing dinner and the bit of private practice I had planned before tomorrow’s rehearsal.

Written by mairmusic

July 26, 2017 at 6:11 am

Posted in July