Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bernstein is pretty fabulous.

The wind ensemble is playing Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, and though I'm not in that rotation, I subbed on principal today. That piece fills me with so much glee, and even though it's not quite as good as the orchestra version in my opinion, the band version is still pretty darn great. But then, it is West Side Story. And I have to give Bernstein extra credit because both WSS and Candide are pieces for band that I honestly enjoy. If playing the Mambo doesn't make you grin, I might judge you a little bit.

I hope everyone's new year is starting out positively!

I had some pretty serious reed troubles over winter break, but the past week or two I've finally gotten them back up to snuff. So now I can tip the balance in lessons from reed making back to playing! I've been working on my recital music (my recital's the last week in February) - I'm playing a c minor Sonata by "Signor Bach", Daelli's Rigoletto Fantasia, the Kalliwoda Concertino and Madeleine Dring's Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano. I programmed this almost by accident, just happening upon pieces I liked, but I think it turned out well. The pieces are all pretty different, and I have a lot of fun showy stuff without completely abandoning substance. And while most of them fall not far outside of my comfort zone, I am getting some challenges. The Kalliwoda is actually quite difficult, and I want to be as historically accurate as I can with the Bach, which is a nice project for me. Even if I do have to write ornaments again. Conveniently, the Daelli sounds much harder than it is. :-)

But I have got to stop picking pieces for which I can't find recordings! Not that I don't like making my own interpretations, but it's nice to be able to hear what's going on around you when you don't have a pianist handy. This week, though, I'm starting both trio and accompanist rehearsals, which is pretty exciting.

I'm very excited also to be playing in Britten's Rape of Lucretia this quarter. I dearly love playing opera. I had a fairly frustrating first three weeks of school, though, because we didn't start rehearsals until the 22nd, while everyone else began orchestra rehearsals on the 4th. We've begun now, though, and I'm already loving it. I can't wait until we get the singers in, though we have another week of orchestra rehearsals before that. Technically they're doing the show with two orchestras, because it's a lot of hours and 5 shows in one weekend, but I asked to play in both pits. The division of parts for the quarter works much better that way, for one, but I'm also by far the most excited about playing the show (and the hours are no more than any other show I've played for- frankly I don't quite understand the fuss), and so my teacher agreed. The conductor was initially hesitant, but I explained that I knew what I was getting myself into after playing in so many previous shows with "Hell weeks," and she said I was welcome to as long as I lined up an "understudy". It's interesting playing with two orchestras, just because I happen to play better with the other players in one than in the other, but we've only had two rehearsals so far. We just need to get used to each other.

I've finished my applications for schools for next year. The final tally: Berkeley, Princeton, Penn, and Cornell for PhD; Oxford, Case Western, and Tufts for MA. Now comes the waiting...March seems so far away!

I'm also auditioning for a CCM run summer program in Italy. The audition's next Monday, but I'm not overly worried. I've worked on it in a lesson and in a masterclass, and have one lesson left as well. And I know the music backwards: the exposition of the Mozart concerto, fast and slow La Scala, and slow Don Juan. If I can keep my tongue from getting overexcited, and not (as I did for masterclass yesterday) pick a reed completely lacking in low vibrations, all should be well.

To end, have something delightful, and something heartbreaking. Both beautiful.