Sunday, December 2, 2007

First Concert (long)

Yay, the little orchestra concert is over, and I must say at initial inspection I felt pretty good about it!

Of course there was an annoying speech at the beginning, kinda funny but way too long and repetative (as usual). I want to recognise our sponsor, and maybe even draw attention to the next concert (which is in the program!!!) but that should take less than one minute. Nuf said.

The first half was Lt. Kije - hardest part is the nasty eb minor arpeggios in mvt 2. They all made some sort of upward movement, had all right notes and were within the right time, but not exactly even. But not awful.Ah well. Our trumpet player was awesome (and nice too!).

The second piece was the jazz piano concerto by my friend B. I really hope he publishes it - what a great addition to the rep. At least for the first oboe! I had lots of big solos in that, and all was great except one squawk out of nowhere! On a lower g, weird. Oh well.

Then we did Russian Christmas music, and I must say I was pretty superb on the massive EH solos (they are totally alone, with no one else playing in the group) EH was in fine shape, did just what I wanted. I was slightly annoyed that I didn't get a solo bow for that one, but apparently D was busy preparing for the stupid schlock we were going to play next. We did the horrendous version of "Refiner's Fire" from Messiah (with clarinets and horns and stuff) I have ranted about that enough in previous posts. The singer sounded great. An aside - the singer kept asking to move the tempo, and at dress D said, I listened to a recording (the first one???!!!) and I thought 172 was fast but they went even faster! Well, yeah. He finally took it in two and it was a recognizable tempo. I don't believe anyone but the other oboist and me (and perhaps a few vlns) had ever played Messiah before (at least not for real). *sigh*

Then our three great trumpeters came out in elf costumes. They played Bugelers Holiday - sounded great, but then D thought it would be really funny to have them do the whole thing again, faster. It was kinda funny, but not worth the time.

The alto came out to do "Oh Thou that Tellest Good Tidings" from Messiah. OMG, that was awful. And not her fault, she sounded at least ok- but the orchestration was AWFUL, and D had asked our sweet little pianist to play a non-exsistant harpsicord part. She is the first to admit she can''t improvise, but D is a wonderful jazz pianist/improviser, and he just doesn't understand those of us who need music. AND he asked her to do this AFTER dress - so she was faking it for the first time at the concert. Not good. At least he cut the winds (oboes were tacet anyway, the one winds actually scored in the real Messiah), strings alone would have been better.

Then a completely underrehearsed "Skiers Waltz" by Gould - should have been sightreadable, but we were all exhausted by this point, and we had only read it once in rehearsal.

After that we did a nice but not necessary "Christmas Song" with the baritone - that's Chestnuts roasting on an open fire - again, singer great, music fine but nothing special. Then the alto came on with him and they did "Baby It's Cold Outside", both of these we did last year and both nice but not adding anything to the concert (except time!!!)

Finally not one, but two singalongs - first Leroy Anderson, lovely, conducted by our "Golden Baton" winner (they auction off conducting the orchestra for $$, great fundraiser). He actually had his masters from Oberlin, so it was great. Usually the winners can't conduct at all and we just follow the concertmaster. Anyway, this guy did a great job, but because they made it into a singalong, I'm sure no one heard the orchestra at all. THEN B (the jazz piano concerto guy) did ANOTHER arrangement of Christmas stuff - nice, but just more of the same - and I'm sure he just threw it together because they asked him...SO too long. So this concert was an HOUR longer than usual, nearly three hours. I am good with 2 hours, but three is ridiculous unless you are doing a special piece like St. Matthew Passion (which I may get to play at the Bach Fest this year!!!!)

I would have cut both Handel arias, the Skiers Waltz, Christmas, Song Baby it's Cold, and one of the singalongs. Then it would have come in at just over 2 hours and that is ok. Rant rant rant. Anyway, today I have the 2ND dress for college orchestra, and tonight is the concert for that. Also the Advent festival at church (which Jim is forced to participate in, not totally unwillingly) But D will have fun there making gifts, I will hopefully get the the tail end of it before I have to go play again. And J has his dress tonight for the band concert, which is tomorrow. I will play that with NO rehearsals - kinda scary, but not too. Still looking for sitters for tomorrow and Thursday (Js company Xmas party - at VERY fancy hotel, considered one of the top 5 in the WORLD if you can believe that, so fun to dress up NOT in black!)

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