Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Feelin LOW

Haha, I've been practicing the Euphonium! Yay for me. J got me one for Xmas, and this (Easter) is the first time I've had a chance to play. Actually, since they DOM at church (who replace the fabulous DOM we had for many years at Christmas) quit a couple weeks ago....this is the one where they FORGOT I was on the music staff when they hired her. I found out from my neighbor. Kinda pushed me to "retire". Mostly I was really mad they had her second interview with the music staff (except me, cuz they forgot) and since the choir director couldn't come, they brought in a former director! I'm annoyed. Let's move on.

Anyway, new DOM quit - too much work, not enough hours, no appreciation - blah blah blah. This poor girl didn't have any real experience and so of course it was taking forever with kinda mediocre results. Oh well. So we are left before Easter with no music planned (to give her props - she did offer to do the Easter service but the pastor said no). But this worked out great for me, I just offered to put together a brass ensemble (read: any brass players I could find that will play for free). There are several people that have done this before, and I just printed out parts from the hymnal for 2 hymns and there we go! Yay.

Only hitch is the pastor (can you tell he's kind of a thorn in the music dept's side?) is asking for his 7th grade son to play trombone. That COULD be ok, if he is really good for a 7th grader. Which he may be - so I said he would have to audition for me. What do I care, he's not my boss anymore. I don't even have a relationship with him as pastor/congregant - the only conversation we've really had is when I quit. He was EXTREMELY grateful when I offered to do the brass for Easter though. So hopefully his son will be up to scratch, cuz I'm NOT putting up with him screwing around (like he did for jr. bell choir) or playing really out of tune or behind. We are only having one rehearsal, and I don't need him so I feel ok about being brutal.

In oboe news, I am putting off practicing the Dring Trio. Anyone know it? Our picc player did it on her recital and thought it would be great - I just started looking at it and it appears to be a counting nightmare (1st mvt). Oh well. Orchestra we have our first Beethoven 5 rehearsal tomorrow - no oboes on the Mozart Requiem so that's it for the year!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Easy concert

The concert actually went amazingly well. Here is that sentence in excruciating detail:
Schwantner: Terrifying, but no big mistakes. The first mvt the bass drum and timps were not super together, but you could just feel the nerves. Also the whole mvt was a bit tentative, but we stayed together and I think it got the point across (whatever that was). Mvt 2, which is a palendrome for sound, went great. Perhaps it would have been better had we played a bit softer at the beginning and end, but still, great.

Mvt 3 is the big oboe mvt. I must say I think it was fine. Not that if I messed it up totally anyone would have known, but *I* was happy with how it went. And my reed responded for all those weird intervals, yay. Mvt 4 is basically review of the previous mvts and it was ok, we even got a Bravo! at the end.

The soloists all did really well every one getting a S.O. The Stravinsky was surprisingly good, esp considering we got the music (and even heard we were doing it) the day before. I mean, it is one thing to spring a Mozart aria on you last minute, but Stravinsky?! Eeek.

The worst part was definately tuning. My reed just wasn't responding during that part - during the actual playing it was great. I don't know if I'm psyching myself out or what, but I MUST do better. So annoying to have all my hard work shot down by a squawky A at the beginning, cuz EVERYONE hears that; and most people have no clue what instrument is playing once the music starts.

Friday, March 13, 2009

And another argh!

Well, tonight is supposed to be our "easy" concert - winners of the concerto competition play (usually) one movement of their piece and we do one orchestral piece. There are 7 winners this year and who would have thought they would all play hard stuff for the orchestra?!!! Actually that isn't true, only most of them are hard. Prokofiev Piano Conc #2 (hard), Ravel Tzaigne (or something like that) ppp high f# solo, Liszt Piano Concerto oboe solo 3x as fast as it should be (IMHO!), Stravinsky Rake's Progress (do you know this Patty?) Anne Somebody's aria - HUGE oboe/EH/bsn solo trio (oxymoron? no one else plays) for like, 20 bars!!!

And all this plus more, but the crowning horror (I say this meaning MY horror of playing it, not that the piece is horrible - that is yet TBD) Schwantner's new piece. We actually played it through last night, but I wish we had another month (!) to work on it. There are so many things about this piece that aren't quite lining up (our fault). The huge oboe solo mvt (3) I have spent hours on with the metronome, and it is really pi$$ing me off that when the other winds come in (joining me), they are playing consistantly wrong rhythms! I can totally understand playing it wrong, because it is quite complicated and looks very scary, but it is quite repetitive. So if they just played it like I did (by myself for say 8 bars, then they join in on the same thing for 20 bars)....Makes me mad. Maybe it will be better tonight - we have only had 2 chances to play that mvt.

The first mvt is probably the most scary - TONS of meter changes, basically every bar. It is fast, and the WWs have these swoopy parts that I think we are all just getting the "shape" of the swoops, not the actual notes (which are more or less 12-tone).

Sorry to rant, but nerve-wracking and my reeds are sucky. As always it seems! I keep getting one and then the weather (or the gods of bad luck) changes and it is terrible. Anyway, I'm sure I will feel better about it after tonight! Next concert we are doing Mozart Requiem, so a nice break for me. Also Beethoven 5 which will be great. I'm doing some solo stuff for church and a little recital thing, but my next big thing will be playing euphonium for Easter!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Schwantner n stuff

This has been a nice little hiatus, but now we have Wednesday and Thursday rehearsals for Friday's concert. Mostly concerto winners, but we are also playing the "premier" of Chasing Light. It was a special commission that will be played in all 50 states, we are somewhere in the middle. I think the actual premier was in Reno last fall.

As far as I'm concerned, it is really hard. I have actually been practicing, but there are parts I won't be getting. How annoying. The only other notable part I have is in the Liszt piano concerto. We should be hearing the soloists tomorrow, usually it is just amazing the talent we get. I can't believe people come from all over the country to play for $500! And lots of them don't win, so they come for nothing.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

on to the next thing

Secret Garden closed last night - kind of a relief! Pitch was really a problem in the pit, but I've heard the audiences really liked the show. Yay. Honestly, if the story gets across and the actors do a good job, the pit is really secondary (sadly). But it is so great to play in a really good pit.

Today I go to the youth orchestra's dress rehearsal - they need an extra oboe so i'll play 2nd with my student playing 1st. The only thing I know they are playing is Braham's Academic Overture. Can't remember ever playing 2nd, but hopefully there won't be anything too stressful (like nasty super soft low notes). After that I really need to look at the evil Schwantner - so hard! I think everything else will be fine (on the orchestra concert, 2 weeks out)