Last Tuesday, I had the hearing for my recital. What this involves is (theoretically) playing your whole program through for a panel of three professors, who ensure that you won't embarrass yourself at your recital. This is also what you are technically graded on. What this comes to in reality is closer to a coaching, at the end of which your teacher signs off. Or at least that's how it goes in the oboe studio. At any rate, I played my two accompanied pieces for both my teacher and Dwight (with piano), and was checked off by both.
I offer proof:
The week before your recital, the scheduling office, which is in charge of printing programs, prints a copy of your program and pins it to a bulletin board. Now, as I have posted a picture, you can see that my program clearly states "Rachel B*, oboe" and that one of my pieces is titled "Three Piece Suite for Oboe and Piano." This wasn't clear enough for the office, however. They've printed my program as "Rachel B*, flute." Tomorrow I shall go to the scheduling office and Have A Word with them.
On Saturday we had our orchestra concert, at which we played Saariaho's Oltra Mar, which I liked, and every other person in the orchestra and choir hated intensely. They also did the Mozart C minor Mass, which I didn't play in. The concert went just fine, and we're all excited to be moving on to Mahler 1. And the soloists in the Mass were really fantastic, particularly the mezzo.
I'm feeling intensely melodramatic now, as I do for approximately two weeks preceding my recitals, but in reality my recital prep is going just fine. I've managed to run through my program one and a half times in a sitting, and it's quite reassuring that I have that endurance. This week at some point I'm going to run through the whole thing twice in a row- what I've been doing mostly is running through the piece once and then working small spots. And my accompanist is great- there's always a risk, of course, working with a new pianist, and even more when you've asked them because they're your friend, but she's very good and everything's going really well with putting the parts together. This week we've finally reached the point where we can start being musical together, rather than just counting furiously to avoid coming in at the wrong place.
I had a lesson yesterday with the second oboist in the symphony, and my schedule from now until my recital looks something like this:
Thursday: lesson, dress rehearsal
Saturday: dress rehearsal
Sunday: quintet performance
Tuesday: two lessons
???: writing program notes
I really liked working with Lon, the second oboist, though he's very dry- so much so that it was a bit hard for me to tell when he was being complimentary and when he was being sarcastic. I wouldn't say it was one of the most helpful lessons I've had, but that was more because I'm at the point where I'm a) only playing recital stuff and b) know exactly how I'm going to play those pieces. 9 days before is no time to be changing anything substantial. As a result, it was mostly a "let me play for you to get over my nerves" lesson. Those are good too, but I wish I was able to have a lesson with him that wasn't two weeks before my recital. I think I would have gotten more out of it. I felt very much at ease with him; he's very unassuming, if that's the word I mean, and so it's easy to talk with him in a relatively equal way.
I had a very small lesson last week with Petrea Warneck, who came to do a masterclass. I was meant to play in the masterclass, but we ran out of time, and instead I had a half hour lesson with her directly before my hearing. We worked on interpretation of the Bach, as I do with every teacher I encounter, and she, Chris, and Lon have been really helpful in helping me find ways to moderate the conflicting interpretations which I've been trying to mesh in the piece. She's coming again on Monday, and I'll have another lesson with her.
My goal for between now and my recital is being more fluid and lyrical. I know all of the notes, and I can play them. I know what my interpretation of the pieces is. I know how my part fits with the piano. Now to get just a little bit closer to that higher level, that last layer of finesse that makes everything sparkle and sing.