Another evening at the music salon.
It was just a year ago that my friend invited me over to give a concert for his wife and some friends. We joked then that it was like an evening at the salons in Paris in the 19th century. But my friend is so dedicated to the arts and to local culture that it turned into no joke at all. Since my concert at the debut of these salon gatherings, he has brought in a violinist, a cellist, a classical guitarist and other musicians to grace his living room and to give private concerts for this elite group of friends.
I again arrived on a rainy night and set up in front of the fireplace. The guests hid in the kitchen while I tuned (though they were anything but quiet; after all, one of the hallmarks of a salon is impassioned discussion, right?). Then I began with Carolan's Welcome as I often do. It calms the mood, quiets the visiting and sets the atmosphere for the music to come. What followed was music learned and composed during my grant trip to Ireland last summer interspersed with "behind the scenes" stories of that trip. (It's ok, I've known these people for a long time and they were dying to hear what "really" happened in Ireland!)
Such an intimate setting.
Not many people get to be this close to me when I play. A couple people remarked that it was interesting to hear the sounds a harp makes at that proximity, like my fingers placing on the strings, the rush of sound bouncing through the sounding board, the little quirks and buzzes and shhhushes that give my 20+ year old instrument its unique voice. Even the usually private sounds only I hear, like the movements of my arms against the harp's body and my breathing to mark phrases, became part of the music they heard.
The world needs more enlightened evenings like this, don't you think?
Especially when they end with wine, tea
and this homemade delight...