Last night was one of those crazy, beautiful nights that sound too extraordinary to recount with credibility, but it did, I am assured by both documentary evidence and eye-witness reports, happen.
To celebrate the opening of the beautiful loft of a close friend of mine, I organized an orchestra of 45 professional New York musicians to play Brahms 2 for an audience of 75 in his living room. Yes, it is an extraordinary space, and he is an amazing man.
The feeling in the room was excited, joyful, festive. The reading of the piece was fresh (we had less than 3 hours to rehearse the entire symphony), but full of vigor. Because the space was so small, dynamics had to come down, but people could hear each other in new ways, and essentially everyone was a principal player, in the thick of the action. The brass were heroic, and we indulged them (and they indulged my indulgence) by having them stand for the final exultant fanfares of the fourth movement. Afterwards we drank delicious 2001 Barolo and visited the roof-deck, where we could see the Empire State Building. It was a truly exultant evening.
This morning, I had the great honor of having my music performed by the Trinity Choir, directed by my great friend Steven Fox. They (we) performed two movements of my mass, the Gloria and Sanctus/Benedictus. The choir sounded great, the music was exciting and playful, and the church gave me a very gracious welcome.
I’m not generally a fan of self-congratulatory behavior or writing, but this weekend was a great celebration for me of what I care about, and the direction I am headed professionally, and so I am indulging in posting about it here. Conducting one of my favorite pieces with a smart ensemble for an enthusiastic audience, trying something new in the process, and hearing my music performed expertly in a real liturgical setting was a combination I want to remember as a highlight of my career thus far.