My reading for last week was Hexagram 31, Influence. And yesterday afternoon, at the final rehearsal before that evening’s concert, the conductor asked the orchestra to ‘make space’ for the solo violinist.
‘Above the mountain is a lake. Influence.
Noble one accepts people with emptiness.’
Being part of an orchestra always means being open to influence, connected to the whole organism and sensitive to what’s being communicated to you from all directions. (As a string player, and lead â€™cellist, I’m in a constant to-and-fro of ‘influence’ with my desk partner, my whole section, the other front desk string players, any instruments I can hear whose parts dovetail closely with ours, and of course the conductor. Occasionally I even have time to look at the music…) But being part of an orchestra that’s accompanying a soloist – who should be able to play as freely and spontaneously as if she were accompanied by a single instrument instead of 60-odd of us – takes all this to a whole new level of hyper-sensitivity.
By ‘make space’, the conductor meant two things. First, keeping quiet enough that the soloist could create a full range of sound freely (instead of trying to force her way through the orchestral mush). And secondly, to pay attention and stay in touch enough that she could use all the rubato (stretching the rhythm) she felt like – to be available for Influence.