[邀稿]Portuguese Fantasy—Irene Yi-Chun Chen

As A performer

I see, I feel and I play.

International Clarinet Association Young Artist Competition, Portal, Portugal.

The trip in Porto was golden; golden beach, golden beams of light, golden waves. “This is an Up-Beat place!” I felt so right when I got out the airport. Probably the over-friendly weather was in its effect in keeping people up, or more possibly I was thrilled at this shiny-shinning sunshine, when I was waiting in the lobby for my room to be ready in the hotel, I saw all the travelers coming in the door were wearing wide golden smiles, without tiny bit of tiresome on their faces.

Being accompanied by my over-optimistic Israeli friend Gidi, who has also been a group-lesson mate of mine during my US student life, it felt a little awkward that we were no longer playing in kluggy’s studio anymore, on the stage instead!  We were both feeling released for getting out of the US and room 214. There’s no longer another voice telling you what to do. “Isn’t it amazing!?” Gidi told me, but more like a statement; the thing he always said. 

In Portugal people don’t speak English a lot. Everything was just too relaxed that there was one minute that I thought that the competition was probably canceled, for I couldn’t find my pianist, and people from the venue didn’t seem to be aware at all that there should be a competition going on. But for the sake of the beauty of everything, I wasn’t freaking out at all. I trusted it.

Competitors were from Portugal, Hungary, US and Taiwan. I talked to Gidi and Ching (third prize winner!) with no problems at all. But when talking to Hungarian it wasn’t as easy. We understood each other with all kinds of hand gestures and sentences shorter than three words, of course also by the help of those sincere eyes. Not a problem! Yet it was when they played on stage that I knew them the best. MUSIC!!! Here it is, a language without boundaries! The semifinal round for me was more a Cabaret music festival than anything else. (Imagine in a shooting scene the actor and actress with paper-white colored face and bloody red lips singing “Money” on the Portal beach, joined in by a crowd of half naked people and canned laughter; sung in Portuguese too.) This was how I felt when playing Francaix Tema con variazioni pour clarinette et piano in such an exotic place. I mean, wasn’t it what ICA wanted when they picked this piece to be played in Portugal? Come on…shoot those freaking O-Li-Ver motives.

Ahh don’t look at me askance. Imagination, musicians! Though I know it was an odd one here.

I see, I feel, I play, and I was letting it fly.

_______

Irene is one of my best friends in Bloomington. I’d say she’s also one of few people with whom I can share things. Though sometimes, we have opposite ideas toward music, chatting with her is always beautiful and sparkling.

 She just received 2nd prize of a big clarinet competition this summer. The article is mainly about some thoughts during that trip. I found it’s rather interesting to see how she prepared for an international competition and how she dealt with all problems there.

 It’s my great pleasure to invite her to be my first guest in NOW. Perhaps everything I wrote now sounds so square and boring, but there is no better way to show my respects to a good person, a good friend and a good musician.

 Potercl

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