It has been kind of difficult for me to put much effort into musical creation these days because I have been involved pretty heavily in musical re-creation (which is another word for practicing and rehearsing). I imagine that the creative process is kind of like the stock market: there are times when everything is flowing, and there are times when movement is a bit slower.
I don't do "slower" very well, so I'm putting my musical "eggs" into violin playing and into making music with a few composers who have been way out of my league for hundreds of years (Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart) with the intention of playing a concert in a couple of weeks. Here's your invitation, if you happen to be in the neighborhood.
One of the pieces we are playing is the Bach E major Sonata for violin and keyboard, BWV 1016. I actually performed it once before around 30 years ago (!) at Alice Tully Hall (!!!!) on the flute (!). I had a harpsichordist friend named Helen Katz who had scheduled a performance of the piece for a "Wednesday One O'clock Concert" (free concerts for the people in the neighborhood to attend) with a violinist who was a student of Dorothy DeLay. It seems that Miss DeLay was not happy about the idea of her student playing in "Baroque" style (which during the 1970s and 1980s involved a lot of experimentation with inegal or unequal note values, regardless of the style). Helen, who really wanted to play the piece, asked me on a Monday night (I remember it well because I played at a restaurant called "Ruskay's" on Monday nights) if I would be willing to play in place of the violinist that Wednesday (yes, I had about 36 hours to learn the piece). I agreed. What was I thinking?
All I can say is that it is a good thing Helen was such a good harpsichordist. She followed me through a landscape of rhythmic inaccuracies. I remember the stupid blue platform shoes (they must have been four or five inches off the ground) I wore, and the brown wrap-around dress with blue piping along the edges. I remember the speed with which we played, and I remember my pioneering and rebellious spirit. I was playing a violin piece on the flute in Alice Tully Hall, and I was playing all the eighth notes in the second movement as dotted eights and sixteenths, and all the sixteenth notes in the last movement as dotted sixteenth notes followed by thirty-second notes. I felt like I was on the cutting edge of creativity (and I know I was on the cutting edge of fashion). What was I thinking?
Now I'm playing the piece on the violin. The eighth notes in the second movement will be eighth notes, and the sixteenth notes in the last movement will be real sixteenth notes. Thank goodness.