On the skis, at the top of a new run, Part III

Reblog from Kenneth Woods- A view from the podium

On the road with Ensemble Epomeo

Tuesday morning- our final, main concert at St Thomas was to be a noon recital, so there was just time for coffee, lots of stressy emails, scales, packing and the drive in to St Thomas before we met Wesley and Nadja at 10:30. As with the previous two days, the weather was absolutely grim and foul! We touched up the quintet and looked briefly at bits of Beethoven. In the end, we had decided to replace Gál with Schnittke for this concert as well- we knew the collegiate audience would dig it, and it gave us a run at it before the Halifax concert on Wed. It was a fun concert, in spite of the fact that it felt like a sprint since we had to keep it by definition a “lunch hour” concert and get the students out and on to their classes on time.

The only drama had to do with my bow- a few nights earlier, in Newburyport, a cellist colleague who had come to the concert had unwittingly jinxed it by suggesting it needed a re-hair. At that point, the bow was playing well, but in the Schnittke Tuesday, I broke about 30 bow hairs, suddenly reducing a well-functioning bow to one that just barely played. Just as you never want to talk about the reliability of your car while driving it, so to, one should never mention the state of bow hair while concerts are being played.We’d already packed the car that morning, so there was just time for a quick bite at the school cafeteria (brought back many memories) before we headed for Halifax- another 300 mile drive through pouring rain and fog. Visibility was horrible for the entire journey, although we could certainly see the countless “WARNING- MOOSE CROSSING- HAZARD!” signs along the way. Do the Emerson’s have any memories of dodging hoards of rutting moose while fighting an Atlantic gale on their way to play Schnittke? I think not!

We got to Halifax around 7 PM, exhausted, starved and relieved. Somehow, we managed to pull ourselves together for a 2 hour rehearsal on Gál before dinner. It was the best rehearsal so far on Gal’s trio, and the most centered of the tour up to that point. Our shared exhaustion (for the first few days, it was just me that was knackered) led us to take a calm, measured approach and to just review the whole trio, re-tuning some of the many tricky passages and just generally refreshing the whole piece. Chris Wilcox, my old friend and director of Scotia Festival of Music, who was hosting our concert, took us to a charming little hole-in-the-wall diner called the Chebucto Room next door for a bite. This was the kind of honest, no BS place we’d hoped to find on our drive up on Sunday when we’d stopped in that nasty little place in Maine.


PS- you can follow Ensemble Epomeo on our Facebook Page here.