Thank you all for a marvelous concert last Saturday. The Vaughan-Williams was sublime. We really made some beautifully profound sounds, especially in the Romanza. Thank you so much for your passion and excellence! Natalie will be sending out a link to the recording soon. In the meanwhile, enjoy excerpts from the Romanza.
Here are the following Beethoven excerpts for playing exams during week one:
Finale numbers may be different depending on your edition. (Alternate measure numbers are in parentheses)
measure 6 (379) – letter A
pickup to 51-62 (424-435)
*Also include Shostakovich Finale rehearsal 105-108
measures 22 (395) -letter A
pickup to 51-62 (424-435)
*Also include Shostakovich Finale rehearsal 105-108
pickup to 99-106
measures 38-54 (412-427)
measures 132-140 (505-513)
measures 228-232 (601-605)
measures 267-271 (640-644)
Cello and Bass **For cello and bass players who are auditioning for UOCO, I will use your video as your audition for UOCO.
measures 1-10 *cello only
measures 99-106 *cello only
measures 28-34 (401-407)
measures 80-90 (453-463) – take 2nd ending
pickup to 182-196
measures 1-26 (374-399)
19-45 *horns only
measures 1-22 (374-395)
measures 26-33 (399-406) *horns only
measures 390-432 (763-805), faster tempo (whole note=108)
Instead of coming in and playing for me personally, please video record all of the excerpts and send me a link via e-mail by Monday, January 13. If you do not have the equipment for a video recording or the confidence in being able to upload it, you may make an individual appointment to play for me during week one. I will have availability 1/6 (before orchestra), 1/8 (11-3), 1/9 (11-5) for students who play for me live. You must either submit a video recording or play for me live by Friday, January 10 to receive full credit.
I hope that all of you are enjoying the snow that we’ve had lately. Although it cancelled our last rehearsal, I think we will still be in good shape for the Winter term if we adequately prepare the Beethoven and Shostakovich over the break. There will be a playing test in week 1:) All PDF parts are up on the website and some bowed physical parts to the Beethoven will be available before the end of finals. Any of those physical parts that aren’t bowed will be ready for our first rehearsal in January, and in the meanwhile you can print up your own practice part from the PDF over break.
I wanted to take a moment and reflect on some of our successes this term. You did an excellent job preparing the Bruckner and performed it for a practically full house at Beall. Congratulations on a great start. I received lots of positive reviews and feedback for that concert and we continue to impress the Eugene and University community with our work. For those involved in the newly formed Chamber Orchestra, you did a remarkable job preparing the Mozart in short order. My idea for that ensemble is to rehearse quickly and perform at the highest level – no “woodshedding” in rehearsal. You came through and I was very pleased with your performance of the Mozart. I also look forward to the upcoming Chamber Orchestra works such as David Crumb’s Vestiges in the winter, and Aaron Copland’s 13 instrument version of Appalachian Spring in the Spring. It’s a great opportunity for a more professional model within our normal schedule/workload.
We were able to read two additional major works (Berlioz and Shostakovich) and did so well that it made sense adding them to the Joe Alessi concert. Finally, we had an opportunity to inspire younger students from West Salem by playing the Bruckner and Berlioz with them last week. That experience was far more than good PR. We shared our artistry with younger students and opened up a new sound world to them. You never know what impression your words, actions, or music-making made. I’m sure some of them now love music even more, and some may even have been inspired to take their own music-making to the next level. From my perspective, you carried yourself with great professionalism and treated them with respect and kindness. I thank you so much.
During the Q&A session, I told the W. Salem students that if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. All of you make me love my job and I am so thankful that we get to do what we love at every rehearsal. I look forward to a tremendous winter term filled with awesome repertoire, a world-class guest artist, and spending time together loving the symphonic repertoire more every day.
The chamber orchestra will be continued next term. We will hold string auditions to determine placement during the first week of classes in January. The work is David Crumb’s Vestiges of a Distant Time. Excerpts from the audition will be taken from this work. You may find the parts as well as a recording at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/u6vtq4fscaaoesi/fJhZd8RQ2a. Since the double bass part is so basic, I will audition basses on major excerpts from Beethoven #5 which will determine both chamber orchestra personnel as well as Beethoven #5 seating.
I had a fantastic time reading the Shostakovich on Friday! I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did and maybe learned something new about the work as well.
This week we will be hitting Mozart a bit harder and work on continuity with the Bruckner. Many things are already in place for the Bruckner, but please keep hitting your personal “brackets” before rehearsal. It is always a bit disappointing when we work on something, get it just right, and the next time we read it, it takes us by surprise. The good news is – this problem is very easy to fix. Please keep very good track over where you not only technically struggle, but also where pitch is consistently and issue. Then be diligent and efficient with your practice. Some of our sheet music is over twenty pages long. It can be easy to forget where all the difficult passages are. Put stars in the margin along with brackets so that you can easily find them. Practice tricky licks often. For pitch issues, try to schedule a time to practice with your stand partner. If put into practice, these habits can be extremely valuable for your growth and professionalism – which will eventually lead to getting and keeping a job.
This Wednesday, a representative from the New World Symphony in Miami Beach will be with us to tell us about their program and answer any questions you have. They are only traveling to a select few Schools of Music on the entire West Coast, and I was so proud that they want to talk to you. That says a lot about our reputation as a school and a lot about all of you:) When I was 21, I was runner-up for a fellowship and have since played in the NWS several times. It is a great opportunity! If you don’t know much about it, research a little bit and come prepared with questions.
Next week, I plan to have a recording session of the Bruckner. We won’t have time to do the entire work and we will focus on the first movement. The intent here is to simulate a real recording session, where we play several passages a couple of times and do post-production editing. My hope is that we end up with a product that we can use on the website to show our very best performance. It is a great chance for you to see and understand how these sessions work.
I must begin by telling you all how pleased I was with our focus and progress last week. You displayed a level of maturity enjoyed by only the finest of collegiate orchestras. I was most impressed with how you were able to get to “the music” even during our first reading of each movement of the Bruckner, and how quickly you were able to make noticeable and nuanced changes to you performance.
I hope that you feel that your sectional rehearsals were productive. For the ones that I led personally, I can say that much was accomplished. We will continue using sectionals to work out technical and ensemble challenges this week and hopefully begin the Mozart with UOCO on Wednesday. Although the parts are scheduled to arrive by then, they will NOT be marked at the first rehearsal.
Please continue to be well-prepared for each rehearsal. Look carefully at the schedule and give particular attention to the movements being rehearsed each day. I try to be as specific as possible so that you may focus your practice.
Finally, a word to our string players. As you have already figured out, Bruckner loves the tremolo. Please take care of yourself. Do not play with tension, and feel free to modify your bow arm in rehearsal so that you stay healthy. Some tips – rest your right arm on your leg, slow sown the tremolo at times, take a bar or two off every now and again, move your bow as you tremolo so that different muscles are being used. Play smart, not hard in rehearsal so that you can give your all on Nov. 5.
Thanks for a great week, let’s continue to step it up for week #2.
Thank you all for yesterday’s rehearsal. If you couldn’t tell, I was pretty excited. I really appreciated your focus in our the read of Bruckner #4. It seems that many of us are taking the words of Profs. Pologe, Van Dreel, and Vacchi to heart already. While much practice must still take place, your enthusiasm, musicality, and most important, your ability to make noticeable changes when requested show a maturity I have not yet seen during a reading session. Bravo! I look forward to tomorrow.
Since the war, something strange has happened to the performance practice of Bruckner’s symphonies. More and more, conductors have made the monumental, monolithic aspects of Bruckner’s symphonies the defining feature of the music. At their best, there’s a meditative, intoxicating quality to the mesmerically slow speeds of performances by such conductors as Herbert von Karajan and especially Sergiu Celibidache, but with less accomplished maestros, Bruckner is reduced to a weirdly one-dimensional architect of sound. Too often these days, his music is performed by conductors who unthinkingly take their cue from the slow speeds of the school of performance that sees Bruckner as a pseudo-spiritual-guru, as if the music were a static marble sculpture rather than a living, breathing organism.
…Recent recordings by Roger Norrington, Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Jonathan Nott have revealed a different side to Bruckner, interpretations that make him a human being rather than a self-annihilating penitent.
But here’s the biggest Brucknerian irony of all. You can experience the most dynamic vision of Bruckner in recorded history in performances given by Wilhelm Furtwängler, including some during the second world war with the Nazi-sponsored Berlin Philharmonic. There’s a performance of the Fifth Symphony from 1942 that is still shockingly intense, vital and energetic. For anyone who thinks Bruckner only wrote slow, static, boa-constricting music, this is the performance to hear. There’s an intensity and wildness Furtwängler finds that flatly contradicts the monolithic vision Hitler and Goebbels had of the composer. It’s an energy and fearlessness today’s conductors need to recover in their approach to Bruckner to do justice to the musical and existential revelations at the heart of each of his symphonies.