OK so I wasn’t even nearly dead, but I was pretty sick for most of week 3, and as such I didn’t do much beyond rehearse, practice, teach, and perform (wash, rinse, repeat). Week 3 contained our Mexican music program in honor of Mexico’s Independence, but I already wrote about some of that music in my last post. One leitmotiv (??), motive, or phrase that I did learn about, which Revueltas utilizes in his work Janitzio, and which I’ve subsequently heard now quite a bit is “¡Chinga tu madre!”. Warning, you can click here for an explanation, but it’s Rated R and NSFW (not safe for work), so if you’re easily offended, just use your imagination about what this phrase means.
In fact, just as the equivalent word in English (to the verb chingar) is highly versatile, we’ve been told that you can actually find a chinganarrio (or in English, “chinganary”) in the bookstore with all of the possible mutations, permutations, transitive uses of the verb chingar. (the more you know!)
I also mentioned that, for the start of week 3, Mary E came to Xalapa with me for a period of about 24 hours because we had no water for 3 consecutive days (no shower, no toilet, no washing dishes or clothes…nada). However distressful this was for me, I still think that Mary E should report on that incident. (Scarcity of water is a known and major issue here in Mexico City.)
Also during week 3, a tragic thing happened wherein we realized that the Teatro del Estado (state theater) where the orchestra performs was potentially unsafe and in need of repair. I got to watch some of the labor disputes first hand as 1 of our rehearsals ended early, 1 was cancelled outright, and the another was delayed by almost an hour. Fortunately, all of our consecutive rehearsals and concerts were moved outside of that edifice, as the orchestra refused to rehearse or perform there. I actually really liked the sight where we ended up performing, the Casa del Lago, which is a stone structure located downtown, by a man-made lake with a fountain. It was very beautiful and picturesque locale, even though the actual “casa” where we performed was also a little run-down.
At this point, the posts are now a little out of order. Mary E already blogged about the following weekend here. It was bittersweet, but that Sunday I had to yet again board my bus and trek back to Xalapa. Another weekend activity was that we went to see the Mexico City Phil perform Mahler’s sublime Second Symphony, which was a wonderful concert. It looks like they have a great season, and we’ll be sure to attend more concerts throughout the year.
In my final week there we performed a series of concerts called Didacticos. They were essentially educational concerts for children and laypersons in the city, and we performed in various locations on the campus of the University of Veracruz. Apparently, there is a point system whereby the University gets money for hosting these various programs, and the members of the orchestra tell me that they perform about 40 of these concerts per season. We did 7 that week (1 was cancelled).
I had such a great time playing with the orchestra and meeting some fantastic new people, especially the principal trumpet player and trumpet professor there, also a Jeff, and his family. His wife, Patricia, is from the city of Guanajuato, and after learning a bit about that city from them over a delicious meal and other good conversation, I am really anxious to visit there with Mary E this year.
Speaking of Mary E, It’s really nice to be back to our apartment in D.F. with her and our kitties. Now I have a recital to prepare and some other composition projects to work on, but I hope to keep in touch with my friends in Xalapa. I was also grateful for the opportunity to teach a few really talented students at the Institute, and it looks like through my connection with their band director, Tim, the brass choir may premiere a fanfare that I wrote recently to enter into the Dallas Wind Symphony Brass Fanfare competition. I couldn’t be more pleased with all of that. I am happy not to be living out of a hotel anymore.