10 January 2006

Late up, and grumpy about people hogging the bathroom for showers.

After breakfast the big group put an end to the piece using one of the ideas I’d had during the night, circulating notes like ping-pong between two halves of the group.

Then set to work with Klaas and Tywi on our trio piece. This was harder. Tywi had already composed a pleasing picking chord sequence, which we decided to use as a basis for our piece, but he had quite strong ideas about what should be in it, and these were things Klaas struggled to play. Rather than a group composition, which we didn’t really have time for, this was a trio playing one person’s composition. At our second session, I tried to introduce another, very different, piece but Tywi didn’t like it. We negotiated a version of his composition which Klaas and I felt we could cope with, but it was very much a process of negotiation, up to the last minute.

In big group rehearsals nerves were beginning to fray, particularly about non-musical things like how we enter the room without tripping over each other.

Before the performance, the first pointed stick. As leader I was told the room had been set up, and invited to check it. We were frantically rehearsing so I said ‘In five minutes’ and promptly forgot. At the last minute we realised it hadn’t been set up – no chairs had been put out. We knew there would be some sort of windup so we coped, and also coped with the pot plant helpfully placed in our path as we entered! When we had assembled smoothly and effectively in front of the audience, I started everyone on a long tuning session, despite having tuned just before entry. I still don’t know why I did it but it was a mistake and only mine. The audience grumbled and yawned. This too was playacting and provocation but the point was made. After that, however, we played well and got a great response for all the pieces. We’d achieved a lot in 23 hours.

Afterwards we had a relaxed, slightly high, chat in small groups and reconvened for a formal session about 12. Mark tried to make it ‘formal’ using all the GC techniques, where I was more for a laid-back jam, but Mark was right and I was wrong, and we proceeded well using the forms. The music at that session was varied and, for this participant anyway, exquisite.