I will take a walk today, but it will have to be short: we begin rehearsing for this weekend’s Symphony Silicon Valley performances this afternoon.
I have a lot to play on this concert, and it’s all on English horn. This is a bit unusual these days, and while I’m looking forward to it I also know I really have my work cut out for me. We begin with the unknown: we are playing a world premiere of a work by Pablo Furman (the symphony site calls it “Overture for Orchestra and Choir” but my part has “The Singing Icons” at the top) and dealing with the unknown always has me wondering what will be easier than I expected and what will be harder (no solos are marked, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any!). Then we move to Debussy’s Nocturnes, which has some solo work for English horn, and we end with Rachmaninoff’s The Bells. The Bells is a work I’ve never done, and the last movement begins with an English horn solo. I’m anxious to get to rehearsal and see how it sits once I have the support of the orchestra. It’s one thing to practice at home, and another to get on stage, play with others, and come in when required rather than on my “own time”. (Sometimes it’s a good idea to put on a recording and play along so I can’t just decide when I’m comfortable beginning, and then I’m not allowed to take a lot of liberty with tempo. I don’t do that constantly — if I have a solo I do get to be expressive, after all — but it does help keep me more “honest” about time!) All works feature our Symphony Silicon Valley Chorale and the last has soloists as well (Isabella Ivy Soprano; (Daniel Weeks tenor; Anton Belov, baritone). It should be a very interesting set! Gregory Vajda is conducting.
Nocturnes is especially interesting. The first moment has a solo for English horn that keeps returning, sometimes in slightly different form. While the orchestra is playing in 6 I am nearly always in 4. When I played it in the past the conductor continues to conduct in six. Here is just a snippet of one page, so you can see what I’m talking about:
Here’s the MTT/YouTube Symphony Orchestra playing it:
I’m hopeful that our tempo will be close to this. I listened to another recording that goes SO much slower, and then the rhythm can be a bit trickier. Playing two against three isn’t really that difficult … unless the tempo is tremendously slow!
More later … time to walk!