(This week’s blog post is coming to you a day late because a very special house guest appeared on my doorstep early yesterday. Franny himself came by my place on the way to his performances at the Musical Minds Chamber Music Workshop, and we thought our time would be better spent recording more episodes while we had the rare chance to be in the same room together).
I’ve noticed a marked increase in weepiness once I past my 20s. Mostly in watching live performances of music. Anything sincerely heartfelt onstage and my nose starts prickling, something rises dangerously in my chest, and then my face starts distorting because I’m trying to stifle it, but controlling this gulp of emotion is usually a losing battle. That’s a big reason why I’ll hide in the back of Herter Hall when I get the chance to watch instead of perform at Garth Newel. The ugly cry is not a good look for me.
I remember the first time a performance made me cry. I was 15, listening to a boy from my studio play Chopin’s 2nd piano sonata. I was struck by his soulfulness, so wonderfully sincere, that I immediately felt like I knew him. When he got to the funeral march 3rd movement, I was hanging onto every chord, riveted by the sorrow of every step. I felt the familiar expansion of my chest, but this time I let it continue until something broke.
Sometimes the emotion overwhelms from the first note, and I’m just a blubbering mess. It’s that kick-ass combination of intensely felt expression and balls-out performance that punches me in the gut, because in there I feel such a desperation, need, and power that is just. so. moving.
The most recent performance to grab me in this immediate way is the one by Russian Renaissance, in their winning performance at the 2nd M-Prize competition. Check them out – you won’t regret it.