Means the mandate to be in the best shape possible. How do I get there? Mostly by doing it, by always being in motion, being vibrant in actions even when I feel unequal to my ambitions.
A friend of mine told me that he once worked as a longshoreman… after the first day he was aching head to toe, despairing of every having the strength to do the work. He asked one of the much older, grizzled, very strong men if there were any exercises that he could do to make his job easier (my friend is, of course, a health nut). The longshoreman looked down at my skinny, intellectual friend and said “Yeah — exercise by throwing barrels onto ships”.
Having said that, what exactly is a recording project and how do I prepare for it? For me, it is my best playing at the time and that comes from physical connection with the bassoon and the arc of aspiration that has started months and years before the actual recording date. The quality of my reed making depends enormously in the level of physical refinement and connection that I have at my command.
And the best way to that is through playing vital music. Though I am recording music by Jean Daniel Braun, I find other short baroque works, mostly bass lines but sometimes flute solos, to be a fantastic prepa ration, a very active meditation that leads to calmness within a flurry of activity.
“Lasset uns den nicht zerteilen” from the Johannes-Passion holds endless fascination for me. It is an example of a work that allows for serenity through choreography – knowing the position and relaxation necessary each finger combined with the absolutely connected flow of air – these are the goals and the focus of my active meditation. The fact that I fail endlessly while nonetheless creating a proximate version of this beautiful, acrobatic line does nothing to discourage me. Quite the opposite. A terrier-like approach to the devotions of performing.