Dvorak ticks me off. Seriously. I don’t know why but when it comes to sight-reading this guy’s music, there’s a good chance I’ll crash & burn.…. which puts me in a really foul mood. If I’m playing with others at the time, I’m libel to get snarky when faced with an adverse situation… such as …oh… I don’t know a violist who’s played the piece before and is trying to push the tempo & making things worse than they already are. An all-around bad situation as burning bridges & playing chamber-music are mutually exclusive: no matter how well you play, do too much of the former & you’ll find yourself deprived of the latter.
So using the what-doesn’t-kill-you-makes-youonger approach, the latest pile of string quartets I took out of the music library for my sight-reading practice is all-Dvorak. Hopefully I’ll work through my Dvorak-induced psychosis in private, thus leaving less human carnage in my wake and more chamber music opportunities on the road ahead….especially as I’m participating in 3 chamber-music weekends pretty soon.. and those know-it-all violists always want to play Dvorak. ‘Nuff said.
It’s pretty much an unspoken rule of orchestra: When someone cacks/blows/muffs/bloops a note (or two.. or five dozen) do not…. no matter what…. do not… at all costs… do not… I don’t care if their hair’s on fire or they’ve sprouted another nose… do NOT look at them. Don’t even look in their general direction. Don’t look at anyone, for that matter. Do not react or communicate in any way. If you’re not playing in the moments following the mishap, take the opportunity to examine your knees…. stare at them like you’ve never seen knees before. It’s just considered bad form to react to the incident and the perpetrator is probably having enough trouble recuperating without you drawing additional attention to them. Besides… one of these days the cacker/blower/muffer/blooper will be you… and you’ll be glad the rule exists.
My orchestra’s concert last weekend went surprisingly well. Given the hugely ambitious programme & the break-neck speeds we tend to go at, there was an extremely high potential for disaster. It’s a really awesome group but lately I’ve been disappointed with how our concerts turned out, so this was especially satisfying. Now we’re onto our next programme and it’s been radically changed from what was originally planned…. so I’m right back to disappointed ‘cause I really liked it before. On the up-side, with the killer concert behind me & the reduced interest in the next one, I’m looking forward to doing less repertoire work and devoting more attention to things that will enhance my chamber music playing, which is my priority… mainly sight-reading… or just reading music in general.. and some basic technique work, mainly my bow-arm. Jeez…. only my 3rd entry and I’m already repeating myself.
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*Hrmph* Well, the stand partner’s back.. and she had time to practice over reading-week so she was in fine form and playing with confidence.…. which is nice, really. She, like many of the people in the first-violin section, is an asset to the orchestra…..I just suspect I’d be better able to appreciate her better from afar. I wonder how can I swing it so that my stand partner misses the concert? Does Tonya Harding does consultation-work?… nothing serious….just something along the lines of an inflamed hangnail or an infected violin hickey would do just fine. Maybe some well-placed paper-cuts? Hmmmm. Or I could just sabotage her violin. Think she’d notice a big old wad of plastic wood on her bridge?…perhaps if I just stole… er temporarily commandeered.. her soundpost.
This being the last rehearsal before the dress, we did a complete run-through & then some. It was a little rough at times, but there were a few new faces in the winds, so I guess that’s to be expected. I put in some good work during my practice sessions & I’m feeling good about my grasp of all of the pieces. Any problems will most likely be technical ones… or I should say the technical one & I can’t solve that over a couple of days. Hopefully in the near future I’ll make good on my plans to go back to basics (or ‘Basics’.. as in Fischer’s, along with Sevcik) and try to build a better bow-arm.
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Hey… I don’t suck after all.
How that for an opener?
Recent rehearsals in my regular orchestra & current pit gig have left me seriously doubting my abilities. That happens every now & then…. though it always seems like now…and orchestra is usually the culprit for triggering it. But then, fate gives me just what I need to turn things around: a missing stand partner. Turns out I can play pretty respectably… when I can actually hear myself.
More entries: May 2005