Back at Augustana: New violin music!

August 25, 2016, 8:28 PM · I just got back from my first orchestra rehearsal back at Augie, and we are playing some quite challenging but fun music!

The theme: Perspectives on the Americas
The music:
GERSHWIN Cuban Overture
MARQUEZ Danzon No. 2
DVORAK Largo from Symphony No. 9
COPLAND Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo

With our new director this year, we have been introduced to an interesting collection of music - this American/Spanish collection that does offer a viewpoint on the world. Most of the music (save the Dvorak, the outlier and gentle break from the rest of the concert, filled with upbeat, rodeo music) is as I said, fast and fiddly. Even though I sit second violin, there are a lot of high notes way up in the stratosphere (especially in the Copland, as I've observed in the past is his style for writing for violins!). So even though it's challenging music, I think it's a lot of fun to listen to all of it, and even more fun to play it. It will certainly be much more fun as we get closer to the October 15 concert and get to know it a little better.

I'm also starting violin lessons, and the piece I'm leaning towards to play for this fall term is Persichetti's Violin Sonata. It's in four movements and all for unaccompanied violin, like the Ravel "Tzigane" I was working on a little during the second half of the summer. I'm going to be getting back into scales and arpeggios and etudes, and trying to get back to work on finding the sound I want to make out of my violin, especially as I'm still working on getting to know this new one. I also hope to play my harp/violin piece this winter sometime, which will be cool. (We're playing in the orchestra two Tchaikovsky things in the coming seasons: The Nutcracker (or themes from it) for our Christmas concert, and "Romeo and Juliet" in the spring - while of course I love both pieces, I remember really loving the second one in 2012 and 2013 especially, so it'll be cool to actually play it!)

As for composing... I'm not actually writing too much for the violin this term. I'm instead focusing on a piece for symphonic band (wind ensemble), which I hope to be a fast festival of sorts. I'm taking a slight break from orchestrating my ballet to make room for this, as because it's for a contest I want to get it done sooner rather than later. This winter, however, I'll probably be writing a piece for string quartet for another contest to have a professional string quartet read my work - my composition teacher agrees I should probably not just reuse the (full) Quartet I already wrote in 2015 and just write a standalone piece that happens to be for string quartet. Make sense? I'll still be excited to share any and all recordings of this music that I work on throughout the term right here on my blog!

It's going to be a fantastic second year - especially armed and already ready with my new instrument. Thanks for reading!

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