I hope everyone had a productive sectional rehearsal yesterday. If you haven’t already, please thank our section coaches (Profs. Grose and Vacchi) for volunteering their time. I was very pleased with the string sectional and the progress we are quickly making (having just received the music). As I stated yesterday, it is absolutely critical that everyone be technically ready for next Monday when we join together again as a full orchestra. Tempi will be faster and we will begin more work on ensemble (vertical alignment), balance, stylistic articulations, etc. If you are unable to play the toughest licks at tempo, please have a solution where you can still contribute to the ensemble without detracting (i.e., simplify the rhythm, play every other note in very fast passages, etc) while you continue to work for full proficiency in the practice room.
On another note, I would really like to begin meeting with all of you so that I can better know who you are and what makes you tick. Please take a few minutes over the next week or two and stop by my office (110) just to say hello. I would love to know what your goals and dreams are, as well as what excites you about music. I look forward to our continued work together.
Ok, so we had our first rehearsal. First off, I am encouraged that there is so much talent throughout the orchestra. Even though the intent was a straight read (which obviously contained lots of errors left unaddressed), already there is sense of core sound on which to build. My hope is that each individual’s performance will be more technically refined by Wednesday so that we can get to the heart of the matter and begin to “feel” the music on an emotional and personal level.
I am hoping that each of you take seriously the responsibility to work out the challenges within your own part so that we can begin working on sculpting the aesthetic experience of the listener- take them on a emotional journey that a symphony like Tchaikovsky’s 5th elicits. At the risk of sounding completely idealistic, we truly have the opportunity to make an impact on our broken world. The music that Tchaikovsky gave us is completely universal, and while we live in a time with tremendous division, there are some things in which anyone can identify. We are faced with trials and circumstances that seem unsurmountable; We feel as if we are drowning in our own sorrows and unable to overcome the struggle within (1st mvt). But then, we are awestruck by tremendous hope and beauty even though our troubles are always ready to present themselves as a force to be reckoned with (2nd mvt). We distract ourself with whims and fancies that the world might provide (3rd mvt), but in the end we must face our fears, conquer and transform our plight into something positive and affirming (Finale). This is a powerful message that we are charged to articulate to our audience. Let there be no doubt, there is lots of work to do in order to articulate the message clearly. But, so long as we take our artistic responsiblilties seriously, we have a chance to do something great! I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish.
Please be fully prepared for Wednesday’s rehearsal. Strings are with me, woodwinds are with Dr. Vacchi, and brass are with Prof. Grose. Let’s finish working out technical details so that we can get to work on what REALLY matters.