So about this premiere. To save you the suspense, the verdict was: not perfect, but overall very much a winful experience.
The detail: I’m always a little nervous at first performances, but the combination of the organiser’s doubts about earlier versions of the piece, and the whole flexible instrumentation thing (which I’d approached with a theory of sharing parts based on compatible registers, so was nervous that perhaps my theory was wonky) meant I pretty much turned up to this one as a stressy, quivering jelly, half-expecting the piece to turn out a total trainwreck.
And then I ran into the organiser just before the performance and she told me that my score is wonderful and that her doubts had been without reason. Which of course made everything better 🙂
And then she said that they were having some trouble keeping it together and might I be able to conduct them. Which was a bit of an Um Moment because I had to ‘fess up that I’ve never even attempted to conduct anything in my life and that possibly in front of a paying audience with no time to rehearse was not the time to do so, which she seemed to agree with.
The concert as a whole was excellent – really nicely balanced programme – short & long pieces, various styles, and solo vs ensemble works. And some great music in there too – I particularly liked Michiko Shimanuki’s Flos Ferri for solo violin, Yuko Ohara’s Rising Eels (which was played last year too) and Mark Wilderspin’s Underground Lines.
My piece was, indeed, a little … untogether, but overall I think they captured the feel of it well and the bits where it did come together were brilliant – just as I’d imagined it, and the ending (which I’d been concerned might be a little wet) was perfect. I think the main issue was just that it was a little fast, but it seems they may play it again later in the Festival, so it would be interesting to see how it goes in a second performance.
And the audience seemed to like it, which I guess is the most important thing of all – had a couple of total strangers come up to me and say how much they enjoyed it, and met a couple of new composers who also seemed to like it. My cheering squad (Djelibeybi and my parents) liked it, but one hopes that’s a given!
So the overall verdict is: WIN!