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I continue to return to my daily routine.

Today I am thinking about and paying homage to Mathieu-André Reichert, whom you’ve probably never heard of unless you play the flute. His story was interesting and, as such stories go, also tragic (at the end, at least).

Born in 1830 in Belgium, he was a flute prodigy. Reichert was “discovered” and admitted to the Conservatory where he won First Prize at age 17. Along with other young European musicians he toured the US and South America, settling in Brazil and playing for the emperor and in the city’s orchestra. He had a distinguished career in Brazil as a performer, composer, and teacher.

While he composed many technically complicated pieces, today he is mostly known for his “Seven Daily Exercises,” which I have incorporated into my own practice routine.

What separates this series of daily exercises from all the others, in my opinion, is that they are wonderfully musical. It is a joy to practice & play them. Each of the 7 exercises has a beginning, middle, and end, and is transposed into each of the major and minor keys. Regardless of what other scales, arpeggios, études, or exercises I practice, it is those by Reichert that make me feel as if the maestro himself is in the room. Really.

He died, in poverty, of meningoencephalitis during an epidemic sweeping Rio in 1880. From what I’ve read, he may have been an alcoholic. His biography lists no mention of a woman in his life. (Although there is nothing to support this, I can imagine that he might have been gay.)

I sat in my room and practiced 2.5 hours this afternoon. It takes time to regain ones musical form after a layoff, but I’m working on it.

Tonight the Urquhart Memorial Concert Band, under the direction of Joel Toste, performed for the residents at Oakland’s Lake Park Retirement Residence–a great venue & enthusiastic audience.

Lake Merritt, Oakland, California

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