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Wrong notes

"I've never seen you so nervous!" exclaimed my Dutch friend.

It's been a bad day.

I had been walking and waiting in the icy cold for two hours. My fingers were frozen by the time I arrived. A simple error of judgment cost me an hour of rehearsal time. I was not ready for tonight's concert.

I wished I had more time to practise. I couldn't. I had cut my thumb last weekend and had to wait for it to heal before I could start using it. But I didn't want to tell the young composer whose saxophone/piano sonata I was going to debut tonight.

My priority was to finish my own compositions so that I could perform them in tonight's concert. I was still putting the final touches in Sibelius music notation software this afternoon. Perhaps that's why I was late.

My turn was third from the last. I walked to the Borsendorfer and decided to give a short introduction to calm my nerves.

"It's called Sweet Bosom. I mean, Suite Bussum. A suite of six pieces written mainly in Bussum. The first one, Okinawa is where I grew up. The second is called Bach Air because it sounds like something by Bach. The third is called Accidentally, and you will know why. Fourth is Familiar. Fifth is Moody. The last one is a Jig."

The first piece sounded so simplistic, compared to the works of the composers before me. They are all going to laugh at me, I thought.

Just before the end, I mentally reminded myself not to make a mistake. Please! I'm almost there!

And then? I played a wrong note. The very last note - probably the most important note of all - I played the wrong one. It was so obvious! I could see my teacher smile in the back. He had told me to write a wrong note - not to play a wrong note!

The final piece of the concert was the saxophone/piano sonata. I made the mistake of asking someone to turn the pages. The mistake was that I had not practised with this impromptu page turner. He turned the page seconds too slowly. I got lost.

At the end of the concert, my French friend asked me whether my introduction was part of the act. It was a whisper, he said. What happened to my flamboyant, confident self?

I explained, "I'm used to playing to people who are not professional musicians. The people here are not only musicians, they are composers."

And my thumb? The cut got worse from all the pounding I did tonight. Well, after tonight's performance, I was too ashamed to touch the piano for awhile.

10 March 2004 Wednesday

All the time in the world to compose
Composing the Suite Bussum
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Anne Ku at Ilp in May 2001
Anne Ku

writes about her travels, conversations, thoughts, events, music, and anything else that is interesting enough to fill a web page.
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