Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I'm in an orchestra . . . sort of

So I'm sort of in an orchestra. I say "sort of" because thus far I've only made 2 of the rehearsals and the first concert is 3 weeks away. I had been invited to this orchestra last year but the problem has been that their rehearsals are on Tuesday from 5:30-7:30 at BMCC which is on the southernmost tip of Manhattan. I work at the NY/CT state line and usually don't get out of work on Tuesdays until 6. Last year I didn't even attempt it, but when the lone oboist reached out to me again this year I couldn't resist. If I can sneak out of work and catch the 4:59 train I can make it there at 6:30. Not great but at least it's something. Due to a lot of staffing uneasiness going on at work I am hesitant to ask for a schedule change at this time. As it is, I am the one with the most flexible schedule already since I am technically "part time". I am sure others won't take well to me leaving early on our busiest day of the week. But anyway, for now it looks like I will be allowed to play at the concert. The oboist and I might start getting together on Mondays to go over stuff since that is my day off.

This upcoming concert will feature Cesar Frank's Symphony in D minor. I had never heard the piece previously and knew nothing about the composer. I was saddened to read in my Essential Canon of Classical Music that he did not enjoy much success during his lifetime. In fact, one of the things I love about this symphony (the EH part, of course) was the source of ridicule. Anyway, since I tend to like Romantic music I was ok with the piece from the beginning. Some parts have tense harmonies that sound weird at first but are interesting to play and to feel/hear resolve.

The oboe parts are not too horribly difficult. The ultra slow beginning is difficult to deal with when you're trying to practice at home without a conductor. There are not too many technically difficult or fast sections, but there are some excursions into E-flat minor that get a bit hairy. When the conductor asked what we should be doing right before that key change one of the bassists said "panic". Hahah, my sentiments exactly.

Because there are only two of us oboists and because I don't yet own or play the EH, the other oboist will play that part. The EH has some major play time in the 2nd movement and I had assumed she would try to switch back and forth but instead she wants me to play the 1st oboe part all by myself. That means that I will have some solos, including my own shot at playing the lovely EH theme (the oboe echoes the EH near the end of the movement). It's such a simple yet beautiful melody. And it has my favorite interval! An ascending minor sixth. Ahhh.

Ok, is it just that composers write wonderfully beautiful lines for the EH or is it that everything sounds beautiful when played on an English Horn? Hmmmmmm.

No comments: