Cora’s Beethoven Dream

I’m so keen to write more on this blog – which Ciaran has been encouraging me to do – but aside from our long, rambling conversations which veer off into all kinds of bizarre territories, my input into the concerto itself is pretty minimal at the moment. Ciaran’s the one diligently doing all the research, after I sent him off with a list of concertos and adjectives. I’ll get more involved when he starts giving me more bits to play – I absolutely can’t wait!

In the meantime, I’ve been having some crazy dreams lately, and recently the Beethoven Concerto featured, so at the risk of revealing my innermost psychological secrets I will share the gist of it with all of you (cue harp arpeggios to signify dream sequence)…

So get this. I’m sitting in the audience at this lovely old church, watching the first half of the concert I’m featuring in with my favourite concerto, the Beethoven (clue #1 that something is off… in waking reality, when I’m on in the 2nd half, especially for a big concerto like Beethoven, I’m safely tucked away in whatever private room is available, gently warming up, rosining my bow and cleaning my strings, and remembering at the last minute to take my jeans off under my dress / replace wellies with concert shoes / clean dinner off my face, etc). So I’m applauding, and I realise I’ve been lost in thought, and hadn’t been paying attention to the concert. I turn to the person sitting next to me and ask “Did I play anything in this half of the concert?” – well, not too unreasonable a question, since performing is often so trancelike for me that I come offstage not remembering more than the first and last phrases! No, apparently I did not play in the 1st half. Just as I suspected. This means I’m up next. So I go off to get my fiddle, and start wondering if there’s even a dressing room for me at this venue. Find the violin, start tuning up – and I can hear the orchestra starting the concerto! Oops. At this point I also realise that I forgot to even play through the concerto once recently before this gig. Yup – not a jot of practice have I done. Oh, well.

Cue Spinal Tap moment. In classic dream fashion where the nonsensical is perfectly acceptable, I’m walking around this church and I can hear the orchestra, but not see it, and I can’t find my way to the stage. So when the time comes, I have no choice but to play my first entry right where I’m standing. I’m pacing up and down looking for a way to the stage, some clue about where the stage is, and none is appearing! I make faces at some guy who looks vaguely official, who tuts disapprovingly at me, and begins to rush me along. This has the effect of making me play faster, which is just not on, so I just slow down my steps and try to follow him anyway.

Someone in the audience begins to tune an electric bass while talking loudly (yeah, I guess they had a little portable amp, too? no manners!), and by the time I reach the end of the first solo entry I’m able to turn around to them and say “SSHHHH!”. I still haven’t found the stage, so I come in with my second entry still walking around after this man looking for the bloody stage.

Then the cat jumped onto the bed and I woke up a bit and realised the whole thing wasn’t real. Phew! So I haven’t been irresponsible and not practiced, after all! Anyway, what did that conductor think he was doing, starting without me on the stage? Disgraceful… I’m just glad I woke up at that time, because the way things were going, if the dream had carried on much longer I would probably have looked down and realised I was naked, or something! For all the annoying stuff that went on, at least I was playing pretty well. That makes it feel ok!

– Cora

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