I have never heard a conductor called “adorable” and I, myself, have rarely been called adorable – but that’s what I kept hearing after I conducted my original concerto “Soñando en Español” a little over a week ago in New Orleans with members of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and the amazing UK harpist Eleanor Turner.
Maybe it was adorable to watch someone experience something as amazing as conducting their own music with symphony for the first time.
Every day orchestras bring music to life out of silence. But for me, it was a revelation.
It was an arrival.
I can remember the damp basement where I first envisioned the achingly romantic 2nd movement. I can remember the old boyfriend’s house where I first worked out the cadenza rhythms, and his cat decimated my leather jacket. I know the secret stories behind the music, I know earlier performances where the solo part just didn’t work and I was devastated.
I was hearing years of dreaming, drudgery and revision become effortless, passionate expression.
And I was utterly adoring it.
Adoring that I finally found out how to bring one glorious theme alive (by adding trumpets!). Adoring the sound of the concertmaster when he leaned forward and played a solo line full of vibrato and longing. Of the bassoons dancing over bass rhythms, the cellos singing bows on strings, the timpani and the cymbal swells, and the soloist throwing herself into the music.
Literally hurling herself into the fermata.
I adored it.
I was able to adore it.
Maybe that’s what adorable is.
(You can see a super-secret unlisted video of the performance here)