appreciation the orchestra world

strange things are afoot at the circle k

Bogus. Heinous. Most non-triumphant. Ah, Ted, don’t be dead, dude. – Bill S. Preston, Esq.

Last night was the first of our classical series concerts for this weekend. It’s a great program, one that everyone in the orchestra is pretty stoked about. Rehearsals had gone well, everyone seemed to be having a good time.

Of course, this should have rung warning bells in everyone’s heads immediately.

Everything in the Mozart Serenade “Posthorn” seemed to be a bit off kilter. Not bad, but not great, either. There were some interesting moments in each of the minuets (always mentally difficult to navigate, especially when there are two of them, one of which starts with an upbeat, the other which does not, as is the case in this Serenade), and some truly interesting moments revolving around which pitch level the orchestra actually tunes and plays to – part of the orchestra voting for A=440, the other for A=445. In spite of this, however, it was wonderful to have to apply one’s concentration over such a span of time (45 minutes) to such wonderful music. The winds truly own the day in this piece, and special recognition must go to the principal winds – Jessica Sindell, flute; Martin Hebert, oboe; and Carin Miller, bassoon; for their many beautiful solo contributions.

The second half seemed to go a bit better, but it’s an exhausting half to play, since we joined the Strauss Death and Transfiguration and Four Last Songs without pause.

The D&T went well, with some spectacular playing by the winds and brass (and the strings – ok, we all played pretty well). In particular, the last wind chord was phenomenal – perfectly balanced and voiced, and absolutely in tune, like a giant, and incredibly soft, pipe organ chord.

Soprano Amber Wagner was tremendous in the songs, with ample power and sensitivity that produced chills down my spine. Concertmaster Sarah Kwak provided her own subtle fireworks with her two gorgeous solos in the Bein Schlafengehen and Im Abendrot songs. As one colleague noted “her solos are always sick”.

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