Day 8 + Day 9 – Alba, Italy

Day 8

This morning we did not have a composition workshop, as our next new speaker, Mark Cook, wouldn’t be arriving until later in the day. Instead I planned to meet with Forest Toby (Earlham College) to find our way to the music shop in order to find out what percussion instruments we could possibly rent for the Klezmer performance on Saturday. We did find the store, but it was unfortunately during ‘siesta’, a time period during the day in which all of the stores close. This afternoon’s concert was a nice mix featuring a piece by Mark Cook (whom was in the audience), Stravinsky’s famous Octet, and the Creation of the World by Darius Milhaud. The Evening Concert was put on by a violin duet with a piano accompanist. The two played a handful of violin duets as well as solos by Frolov, Schubert, Brahms, Massenet, Saint-Saens, Sarasate, Shostakovich, and Monti. The concert quickly tied for my favorite thus far. The two were amazingly in sync with each other throughout calling for a standing ovation and two encores!

Day 9

Today Jacob Smart (IUE) and I got up a bit early in order to grab some wi-fi before lunch. After hitting the usual communal cafeteria, we headed to our composition workshop to hear Mark Cook give a very in depth discussion about his career and compositional processes. He was able to give a lot of insight into how to press past ‘composer’s block’ and better understand our own musical drive. Today’s afternoon concert featured a Brass Ensemble performing pieces by Rossini, Ewald, Dukas, Mahler, and Vivaldi. For dinner, we ate at Hemingway which served a delicious two course meal with a couple of choices. I chose a salami plate which actually featured slices of various meats, and for my second dish, an alfredo pasta with ham and peas in it. The evening concert featured lengthier chamber music by Mozart, Kuhlau, and Schubert. The Shubert piece was easily thirty minutes alone, though, of course, performed wonderfully along with the others.

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