He didn’t like the Sibelius either.

Such is life; I was actually feeling okay about the performance, although the beginning of the work can be difficult if you don’t feel the pulse. (It helps to really know the score.) But I do wonder if I wasn’t listening well enough. Perhaps my brain tuned things out. Maybe I wasn’t playing what I thought I was playing. Maybe I missed attacks without even knowing it! (See how insecure I can be? Is this sad or what?!)

Yeah, I tend to believe what I read. I really do. (And for those reviewers who read this, see how much power you wield!? That must be sort of weird to think about. Or maybe just fun. And NO, I’m not asking you to change anything. That would be wrong and very stupid of me to do. I just wish we were always perfect so the reviews would always reflect that!) But I’m working on my “little” (hah!) problem. Reviews—reviewers—can really cause me to fall apart, to get more nervous the next time ’round, and to doubt my musicianship tremendously. I know that’s silly. I know I give them more power than I should but, heck, so do audience members! I can’t tell you how many times someone has come up to me to say, “I hear the concert wasn’t very good,” because of something written up in the paper.

So I’m not the only one who takes the reviews as gospel truth!

Oh … and Mr. Scheinin includes this tidbit:

Nakamatsu followed with a couple of encores: Mendelssohn’s Rondo Capriccioso felt a little blocky, with the pianist not quite keeping up with himself; the Schumann-Liszt song “Widmung” (Dedication) was noble, sad and memorable.

Woo hoo! We were right about the Mendelssohn. I couldn’t help but think of several Mendelssohn orchestral works while he played, which was why he was my guess. I don’t know if that’s why my colleagues immediately suggested Mendelssohn, but I’m guessing so.


  1. David Bratman

    I didn’t mean to say that you (or others) missed your attacks, and I
    don’t think Scheinin necessarily meant that either.  What I heard were
    clumsinesses in phrasing, wobbles in timing on individual notes, all
    over the orchestra, even the strings.  “Feel the pulse” you say: that’s
    really important in Sibelius.

    Sorry.  Better luck next time.  The Fantastique can sink like a stone
    if it doesn’t have the right breadth to it.  But I know SSV is capable:
    did not Polivnick lead you in a fabulous drive through the finale of
    Sibelius’s Violin Concerto?  That was something worth going a long way
    to hear.

  2. Patricia Mitchell

    Heh … if I believed in “luck” I’d not have to work very hard. Too bad I don’t. Oh well!

    I must have misread what you wrote. I thought you had said we missed attacks. My mistake.

    I honestly didn’t hear the wobbles you are talking about, which is why I do worry about my listening ability; should that be gone, I’d better think about doing something else, eh? And the duos that Pam and I had actually felt very good. But, as my mother tried to teach me, I can’t go by feelings, can I?


    I’m guessing you study the score before you attend the concert; that Sibelius is one interesting piece, isn’t it? Starting on the beat, starting one 8th before it, starting on the 2nd 8th … the “excitement” never ends. It doesn’t make for a comfortable work. But I feel as if Sibelius didn’t want us to be comfortable. I should read up on what he had to say about the work. Aside from the swan story I know too little about the work.

    I still think the last movement sounds like a pop tune. Maybe that’s just me, though.

  3. David Bratman

    If I don’t know the piece, I study the score (and listen to recordings:
    I’m not a fluent score-reader).  If I really don’t feel I’ve
    grasped the work, I may bring the score to the concert.

    But if I know the work virtually by heart, as I do the Sibelius Fifth,
    I don’t bother.  Better to be fresh.  I’m not looking for
    technical difficulties, as performers (and some reviewers who are
    basically performers).  What I’m looking for in a performance is
    the art.  I mentioned the technical problems mostly as a symptom
    of what seemed to me a failure to engage with the piece.