With a bungling beginning, oh the first attempt was awkward. Even painful. We didn’t know if we’d be able to learn it. But we did! Everyone was so committed and worked so hard. I am so proud of my trio. We learned so much, individually and collectively: Haydn’s Divertimento VI for String Trio.
Along with the music, I learned that the core of chamber ensemble work is exposure, dependency, and responsibility.
Exposure, because, as the only person with your part, you will be heard, in all your glory and all your failing, first by your partners, and then by your audience. Everyone will know exactly what you can and cannot do. Unlike real life and the masks we wear and deflections we wield to hide our imperfections, there is no hiding in a chamber ensemble, from anyone.
Dependency, because without the full and best contribution of each ensemble member, the music will fail to exist, and the efforts of one’s partners will have been wasted.
Responsibility, because others are relying on you to do everything you can to help them do everything they can so you can all bring your music to life.
All of this exposure and dependency and responsibility requires a high level of trust among group members. Trust that everyone will strive their fullest and contribute their best. Trust that everyone will support each other in this striving.
Trust, in turn, requires personal intimacy. Intimacy expressed in knowing members’ strengths, accepting their weaknesses, encouraging their growth, and appreciating their contribution in accepting, loving, non-judgmental fashion. Intimacy that allows the creation of a supportive, nurturing environment in which to work together.
In return for commitment to intimacy and trust, you receive joy. Joy of music. Joy of belonging. Joy of friendship. Joy of support. Joy of work. Joy of growth. Joy of sharing.
It had been told to me that playing chamber music is among the most intimate of experiences. I had never understood what that meant. Now I do, from playing with my trio. It is an intimacy found in a sonic realm, through the caressing of another’s sound with one’s own, that can be found in no other way. And when infused with trust and joy, chamber music adds a deeply fulfilling level of personal intimacy to life.
Copyright 2017, All rights reserved.