A recording made live at Mira’s house the day we met in person for the first time. This is a “live take” release reminiscent of the track Dylan released where the whole band fell apart laughing.
Mira had some questions about the physicality of playing horn, so I suggested that she try something my horn teacher once had me do: sit behind me, rest her chin on my skull, and rest her hands on my rib cage. The chin-to-skull contact would allow her to hear not just through her ears the usual way but also through bone conduction to her inner ear. The hand-to-rib contact would allow her to feel the effort that goes into breathing and blowing.
First, as I was starting to play, Mira’s long-haired German shepherd, Roshi, started licking my face. I persevered for another measure or two until Roshi’s enthusiasm knocked the mouthpiece off my embouchure, producing a bizarre sound and causing both Mira and me to crack up completely.
I started over again from the beginning. This time, when I got to the stopped horn passage, aka “that THING,” I forgot that I was playing my deskant horn and didn’t have the stopping crook in. My deskant horn is a B-flat/high F double horn by Lawson that has an optional low F extension that can be replaced with an A crook or a stopping crook. At the time, I had the low F extension in, so the only way I’d be able to play the stopped passage properly would have been by substituting a lot of funky fingerings and doing some careful tuning with the position of my right hand in the bell.
I didn’t do any of that. I just tried to play the passage as if I were using my regular horn.
The result was a series of increasing out-of-tune notes, until finally I realized what the problem was, stopped playing, swore, told Mira about the problem, and again cracked up.
I resume from that passage, playing it open, and finally finished the piece.
This was the first time Mira and I had shared the daily kaddish live, in person. At the end, I set my horn in my lap, Mira wrapped her arms around my shoulders, and we sat together like that in silence for a long, long time—two full minutes—before one of us spoke. I preserved that two minutes of silence together in the recording, because I don’t think I’ve ever sat inside a pregnant pause as long as that one before, and I don’t know if I ever will again.
A powerful experience.