It was supposed to be a relatively "easy" performance.
I've known Florence Rapati, the Artistic Director and creator of Flow Performing Arts, for quite some time. Therefore, although we hadn't really worked together as performers before this point, when she asked me to play some pieces as live accompaniment to three choreographies of hers, I agreed without hesitation. It was to be Beethoven's Moonlight sonata, first movement, Phillip Glass' second Metamorphosis, and Saint-Saëns "The Swan", the last played as a duet with cellist Job ter Haar.
All three of these pieces are, while very beautiful, not exactly what one would call technically difficult.
Then, a week before the performance (I was actually still in Oslo), my phone rings. It's Flo, saying someone dropped out of the performance and they need an extra few minutes, didn't I do the Gaspard project with Thami - who, as point of information, is also part of FPA - and couldn't we pick, say, the first piece of that up for next week?
I reassure her, saying of course we can do Ondine, we polished that up quite well the year before, only it would be a good idea for another choreographer to take a look at it before performance, maybe on Friday, because I was flying in on Thursday.
Flo confirms, everything is arranged, and so ends the call.
I was frozen in blind panic for at least five minutes afterward.
However, "sleep is for the weak" isn't one of my many mottos for nothing, and despite the fact I may have been a little hollow-eyed when I got on the plane to Holland, Ondine was back in my fingers. Rehearsal the following day went off without a hitch, and Sunday morning I happily met a cellist and a group of dancers in Utrecht to travel on to Soest.
We arrived on Herman van Veen's grounds, which were absolutely beautiful, again without incident and I skipped off to try out the lovely-looking grand piano...
To find that its una corda pedal wasn't just disconnected; it had never been connected in the first place.
It turned out not to matter, of course - the performance went beautifully, and I was quite proud to note that Ondine had grown both in sound and expression. The dancers were decidedly stunning and a joy to accompany: I'm very much looking forward to the next time I'll be working with them!
But I will never ever think of any performance as an "easy" concert ever again.