Friday, February 02, 2007

Touring

I awake in an exit row with the syrupy scent of deicing fluid coating the warm waffle of my mind. I awoke--earlier--to the rushing Iowa winter breezes singing plaintively over the hotel parking lot. The hotel clerk advised me to bake my own waffle (literally, not metaphorically) in the lobby before heading out for the day. And so I did; something about the blear-eyed pouring of batter was really amazing, a kind of lumpy, viscous torture for the soul. This is you, I thought, as I poured; you are being poured out of a styrofoam cup right now, at this very moment; this is your brain entering the day. The sizzling waffle iron of life awaits, receives you, browns you to a crisp.

We drove. We drove swiftly eastward across the Hawkeye Steppes, through the 2-degree air with brisk 40 mph winds that whisked snow across the highway in shiny, winking loops and squiggles. The sun bravely, sadly, shining from behind us, lengthening purple stick-shadows. We exited the car at the loading dock of the hall and suffered knowing how we suffered. Our hanging concert clothes froze into their wrinkles, my bag of snackish Sour Patch Kids screamed and stiffened in sour alarm, and with music and coats flapping, shivering, lugging our carryons, we hobbled up the stairs ...

Oh Iowa.

It is amazing how on these tours you always seem to end up, after the rest stop, after the nearly missed connection, after the cab, at the same basic place, in the dressing room, in the loading dock, backstage in the dark, waiting to go on, waiting for the announcement and the thanking of donors to stop and for the music to begin. The page-turner hovers, nervously. You always end up looking at yourself, in the same flexible room of the mind, playing chess against yourself, psyching yourself up and down, wondering what the phrase would sound like if you had never played it before. Emerging from the fog of travel.

Transition: out of the chill, out of the car, into womblike warmth of the backstage and the warmth of the smiles, the incredibly warm Iowans, the warmth of human hospitality arrayed against the strip malls and off-ramps of the world. My dressing room smelled mysteriously of fennel. My suitcase yawned open, a sock or two dangling, saying "I dare you to pack me again." I showered and sang Schumann and Ives and ate delicious steamy spicy Thai food which burned me happily and made a little home of my little cubicle; I gnawed an apple, consumed brownies, shifted garments ... a million rituals, a million redemptive details ... my life. Let's play.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just saw your performance in Madison, and I enjoyed it immensely. I hope that you enjoyed the city and its frigid temperatures.

Anonymous said...

It's a prolong cold air of the season. From Iowa, Michigan, New Jersey and then home. It's on the negative all week. No forecast of snow but just super super cold! ARCTIC CHILL TO THE BONES, FRIGID AIR....unless you plan to go to Miami tomorrow for a SUPERBOWL getaway!

But touring is heart warming w/ the warm applause from the audience, warm smiles, warm hugs and warm reviews from cold critics.

I haven't heard nor read of anything annoying but all satisfying good news from this tour esp. the equally and real performer, pianist JD. Any future recordings?

gabrielvolin said...

You sang Ives? Are we to believe this? (just kidding!)

Bill said...

That's a little scary. ;-)

Anna said...

I loved your description of touring. Although not a performer myself, I have toured with my husband, and recognise the whole range of emotions you describe so beautifully.

Geigerin said...

I was in Iowa too and your description fits perfectly. It was so darn cold!

I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to talk to you longer. The line was so long! You guys were phenomenal, though.

hari said...

although touring must get tiresome, it's wonderful seeing different places and meeting new people. it must also be so thrilling to go out on stage each time and to be received so warmly.

Γ.Βαγιανός said...

Hi Jeremy,I'm George Vagianos from Greece,conductor.Keep on the good job
in your blog and thanks for giving me a visit.Unfortunately it is in Greek(I know,it's all Greek to you).If I find something that might interest you I'll drop a note.Anyway,best wishes, all the best to you.
Georgeou

Anonymous said...

Loved your talk on Kirchner in Michigan yesterday. I remembered you from last summer's Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, remembered enjoying very much your playing and obvious enjoyment of your art, but am even more looking forward to this summer and more Kirchner. And since I was just finishing Herzog I now feel that the universe really, really wants me to like Kirchner. All good.

Anonymous said...

Hope both you and Josh have warm gloves with you on this tour.

Claire said...

good to hear that pianists sing in the shower was well :) huggles

Anonymous said...

There are more pianists who sing in the shower than any musicians out there. If not, they either hum or whistle if they can't seem to find the right key.....

Anonymous said...

Jeremy, any plans to record this wonderful sonata combo ( Beethoven /Schuman ) w/ Bell? how about the concert piece or the Corigliano?

You're just a superb recital duo and I'd like to hear any recorded music from the two of you.

Congratulations on last evening's performance! Good selection of sonata combination and good partnership too!

Anonymous said...

Is there an updated tour schedule? It seems you're in Europe now w/ more than one performances either w/ Bell or w/ some other artists.

Please inform the europeans and americans as well.We may be in that city and miss your concert.