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On the Haugtussa lieder and morphine

So about a week ago, Emma and I performed at the Donner bookstore. And it was awesome.

You see, concerts at a bookstore always have a varying audience. After all, people come in to buy books, and it's up to us to make them decide to come listen to us instead.

When we started, we had an audience of about twenty people. Since for this particular concert we've decided not to hand out programmes, I've taken it upon myself to get up in between the pieces and talk a little; I explain what we're playing, what's going on between the songs, and what the audience could be listening for.

Around the second time I got up, I noticed the people in the bookstore had suddenly become very interested in the foreign language section. This of course had nothing to do with the fact that the foreign language section offers an unimpeded view of the stage.

When I spoke for the fourth time, all the chairs near aforementioned foreign language section were taken.

But our most wonderful audience member I only heard about after the concert. You see, I had my back to her, so I couldn't exactly see what was going on... But from what I've been told, a little girl of about five years old was loitering around the edge of the audience for about ten minutes, hiding a bit behind a pillar, but creeping closer and closer, all the while clutching a teddybear and sucking on her thumb. When we got about halfway through the concert, she had apparently gathered all her courage, because clambered right over three people and picked a seat in the middle of the audience, where she stayed completely still until I had played the very last note.

Unfortunately, she fled before I had a chance to meet her, but I like to think I'll get another chance!

Emma, meanwhile, has maybe given her most impressive performance yet. You wouldn't know it from her stage face, but about a month ago, she got into a car accident. As I understand it, she was happily biking through Leiden when a car came out of nowhere and tried to kill her. Fortunately for us, the car didn't succeed, but it has managed to mess up her shoulder rather thoroughly - apparently, several tendons tore, and her shoulder now has a bone sticking up from it.

This is about as excruciating as it sounds.

So when I got to the Donner before the concert, I found Emma esconced in a comfy chair, looking about as white as an unwritten page and smiling blankly at the universe in general.

The morphine kicked in about a half hour later.

Of course, it helped that she didn't have to sing for more than five minutes at a stretch since I play several solo pieces throughout the performance.

The audience only noticed she had her arm in a sling.

I have no clue how she did it - but I hope she can do it again on Mother's day, when we'll be playing the same programme in Stadszicht in Rotterdam!

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