Friday, September 18, 2009

What I'm loving now: Brunel Sinfonia

I read a blog recently (and I can't figure out which one!!! Sorry!!!) that pointed out how critical we are in our daily lives. The blog encouraged us to practice falling in love with something every day.

This sounds like lovely advice, but the more I thought about it, the less I could figure out how to apply it to my life. Finally I realized that while I am critical of many things (hence the name of this blog!), I don't hate things on a daily basis. I just don't feel that strongly about that many things I encounter in my day to day life. So I'm also not sure I have the capacity to love a new thing daily either. But I don't think it's a bad idea to celebrate the things I do love now and then.

So, I love the Brunel Sinfonia. That's the community orchestra I play viola with here in Bristol. I can say I love them quite confidently right now because we haven't started autumn rehearsals yet. This fall we're playing Mahler's 5th Sympthony, which is supposedly quite tough, so I'm sure I'll have plenty of reasons to grumble about the Brunel Sinfonia and our arrogant music selection in the future. But for now--listen to this brass opening! Gorgeous.

For me, playing viola is much like running. A 2 hour rehearsal is physically exhausting, but while it's going on I'm not thinking about work or writing or my latest anxiety. Instead, when I walk home at night the most incredible music is blasting through my mind. It's a complete escape from my day to day life.

I especially love orchestra music. It's not about being the best (which I'm so clearly not), but rather playing together, playing off each other, giving just a piece of yourself to create this incredible whole. And when I hear the music we create, sometimes I get lost in it, forget to count, forget to even play.

I also think there's something healthy about participating in something in which I'm clearly not gifted. It's humbling, but encourages discipline. Also there isn't the same level of pressure as there is for me in so much of the rest of my life. It's not a job, it's not even a future job. It's a community orchestra. I do my best, but I'm one of over a hundred. Life, even music, will go on if I mess up.

And on the flip side, it's a pleasure to play for an orchestra which is so good. Our conductor (a solicitor by day) is younger than me and so incredibly talented. And I'm not the only violist, which is such a rare joy. Our orchestra has an extremely strong viola section which is regularly between 6-12 people. Incredible. And rehearsals are less than a 15 minute walk from home.

So exhausting, time consuming, sometimes even embarrassing to my pride, but I love it. What about you? What do you find to take you away from day to day life?

If you happen to be in the Bristol area, our next concert will be 14th November.


  1. great post!

    I've gone through almost a decade of hardship; loss, deaht, health issues, heart-break, bad-friendships . . . the list goes on and one. During the thick of it all, when there wasn't much to "love" about life, my husband and I would ask each other each night, "what was the best part of today."

    No matter if it was a beautiful sunset, snuggling with my kitty, something that made me smile; even if just for a moment, a compilment . . . anything, that's what I held onto each day. It made me realize how important the little things are. I learned to love the small things because sometimes that's all you have.

    You're orchestra sounds awesome!

  2. Aw, thanks. And thank you for your thoughtful response. Of course you're absolutely right; sometimes the little things are the only things we have to hold on to. I should make a point of writing more posts like this, instead of just being critical all the time. I do hope things might start turning around for you soon.

    My orchestra is awesome. Compared to my last orchestra, it's like heaven. =)

    Take care.

  3. Also, viola is the best! We get to play melody and harmony. We get to play with the violins and then with the cellos or bass - all in the same piece!

    You're making me miss my viola. :(

    Great post! :)

  4. Viola IS the best. Such a lovely, resonant, melancholy voice, too.

    Get it out, have a play with no commitment!


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