Ok folks. Here is your first music journal assignment. Choose one of the works we are currently working on and apply it to one of the following options. This assignment will be due on November 9, 2012. Do not e-mail the assignment. Turn it in during rehearsal.
- Option #1- Listen to the piece and evaluate the techniques of the composer. Does this composer use traditional forms; does he/she use colorful orchestration, what is the most significant element for this composer (melody, rhythm, form), etc.? How might you characterize the style/aesthetic of this composer? Write a document relating your thoughts (roughly 200 words).
- Option #2- Read an article on the composer and/or the specific piece we are performing and write a short synopsis (roughly 200 words). Feel free to critique the author’s thoughts. Include bibliographical material.
- Option #3- Listen to three different recordings of the piece. Write what you liked and did not like from each one (roughly 200 words). Include bibliographical material.
The recording from our last concert is up on dropbox. When you listen to it, try to determine what the acoustical tendencies are in Beall Hall for your instrument and compare that with what you heard on stage. Keep a mental record on what needs adjusted. Enjoy!
Also, I put youtube links up for our new repertoire in the repertoire section under “concert #2.” These are my recommended youtube versions.
Congratulations on a fine concert yesterday. It was very exciting and I have received nothing but positive feedback. The Dvorak was particularly exhilarating. The tempi were good and the contrasts and colors you displayed were quite mature. It was a great start to the season. The Tchaikovsky powerfully communicated victory through strife as intended and am proud of the work you put into this epic piece. Congrats also to all of the soloists. You displayed professionalism, maturity, and truly shined.
While we can all recognize elements still in need of refinement, I think we displayed an energy that spread throughout the audience. We will continue working on a level of refinement with more sectional work and higher expectations for principal players to take responsibility helping their section to match certain stylistic elements and intonation. As I said before, there is a quick turn-around for this next concert. Our first dress rehearsal is TWO WEEKS from this Wednesday. But, I have no doubt that if we are all responsible and diligent, we will be successful.
Thank you for a wonderful first concert!
Bowed string parts are available for Mozart- Symphony #41 and Brahms- Tragic Overture.
Wind/Brass/Perc. parts are linked to IMSLP.
To access all parts go to “Orchestra Parts” on the menu above. Gershwin parts are arriving tomorrow and they will be handed out on Wednesday. Bowings for the Gershwin will be forthcoming.
We are now in our final week of rehearsals for concert #1. I hope that you did some important work in sectionals, and are taking time this weekend to finish up any technical work. Please note that Wednesday and Friday are both dress rehearsals in Beall Hall. Friday’s rehearsal is extended to 5:30pm. Everyone should be aware of that change as it was listed as such in the syllabus and this website from day 1. Please remember that missing a dress rehearsal constitutes a failing grade, so plan accordingly.
Monday you will receive music for concert #2 and you should begin to prepare immediately for the first reading rehearsal (Oct 29). The Brahms has updated bowings already in your part. The Mozart bowings will be posted online as pdf’s and it will be your responsibility to get the bowings in your individual part. Gershwin parts will arrive mid-week.
I am very excited about next week! I have the upmost confidence that you will do a wonderful job and that you will be proud of the fine work you have put into this performance.
Carnival is separate, Rogerson is with the first two mvts of Tchaikovsky on track two, and the last track is Tchaikovsky (Mvt 3 and 4)
I hope that you enjoyed the Skype interview with composer Chris Rogerson yesterday. It is always a treat to collaborate with a composer so that they can provide direct feedback about our performance. I also hope you realize that things are not as set in stone as they sometimes seem. There are so many variables in any given performance of any given work. By this point in my career I have collaborated with many composers. I have since found that the music making process is much more fluid than I previously thought. I think that is a comforting notion for the performer.
Tomorrow we will brush up on the first two movements of Tchaikovsky, then record the entire program in order. My hope is that we gain perspective on what we actually produce. Recording is almost always a really helpful step. From my own experience, I often am surprised by it. I have thought things like, “Wow, I had no idea the brass are covering that melody” or, “I didn’t realize how sloppy that comes across” or, “I could swear I was playing that on time, but it really sounds behind.”
We may listen to portions on Friday, or I may decide that we need time in sectional to clean up specific areas of technical deficiency. I would prefer to do the latter, but want to ensure that everyone hears the recording. It can be the most significant catalyst to practice what really needs improvement. Perhaps after tomorrow’s rehearsal we can discuss our options.
What are we to do when faced with challenges that seem insurmountable? Our human tendency is to either run away from the challenge completely, convince ourselves that the challenge is not valuable or reasonable, or we rationalize our shortcomings. It takes a strong person to admit their own limitations, and an even stronger one to work diligently, finding creative solutions that allow them to be successful in a given task. Our challenge in the UOSO is to perform the greatest music at the highest level. In our “classical” paradigm, a part of that means obtaining technical perfection. But is it really possible? Is it realistic? Is it a worthy goal? I think it is absolutely a worthy goal, but with an acceptance that it will never be fully realized. After all, all art forces us to search for the best efforts mankind can produce. But sometimes technical perfection just isn’t possible or realistic. We are all at different points of development in our skills as a musician, and some pieces require more than we can physically execute. In real life, a lot of orchestral music requires us to choose our battles. In my career as a professional orchestral performer, was I able to flawlessly execute every phrase in every piece, even on my best day? Of course not! There are too many variables at work. My approach was to “stack the deck” in my favor. Before the first rehearsal, I listened to the piece with my part in front of me so that I could determine a pecking order of what parts were essential, important, or supporting. This step takes the least amount of time and effort, but it is perhaps the most critical. I then practiced with that in mind. Essential music, were sections that exposed my instrument above all others. Mistakes would be easily heard and would detract from the ensemble as a whole. Important music was likely heard, but is shared with others that I could make accommodations for my own limitations. Supporting music was either accompanimental, gestural, or unable to be heard with any clarity. Most music lies in the important area. Here, the material is essential, but there may be shared responsibility. I would figure out what notes I could leave out in order to execute more important one or work out something with an assistant/stand partner. I encourage all of you to know the piece well enough to determine these issues of hierarchical importance and to work efficiently to contribute your unique talents to the orchestra, so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The music and the art is worth our finest efforts.
This week we will be tidying up any technical deficits left for our Oct 28 premiere concert. Please prepare carefully the specific sections to be rehearsed. We will read the Stravinsky this Friday, but next week we will begin some serious reflection on how we sound. Monday Oct 15, we will have the opportunity to perform for Chris Rogerson via Skype. Also, please prepare some questions for him regarding his work on Oaken Sky or his life as a young musician. Wednesday Oct 17, we will record our entire concert repertoire, and Friday we will listen to excerpts from that recording so we all hear the same thing, noting any deficits to address during the last week of rehearsals. That means the time is now to wrap-up any individual issues that affect our performance. You are doing a great job! Let’s keep demanding excellence from ourselves and knock everyone’s socks off.