Saturday, January 14, 2006

Notional Geographic

It's amazing to me what a difference a change in geography can make on stage. Move one violinist from the 2nd seat up to the 1st seat in a quartet and the ensemble becomes a completely different animal. This evening I watched a 2nd violinist work admirably within the limits of dynamics and tone that her 1st gave her, even though I was sure that she was frustrated at having to it. On the second half of the concert she switched to the 1st position. The cellist and violist both found a bigger sound, perhaps as a result. The dynamics became just that, dynamic. As far as the string playing on this concert, even the intonation was better. We are all trained to listen down to the bass voice for pitch, but sometimes there are other factors at play.

This concerto doesn't seem to be getting easier. Thorny, but good. This is one of those pieces that I'm going to love rehearsing. There's nothing quite as satisfying as putting together the pieces to find a real gem. There's no "tradition" to get in the way of finding exactly what the piece is, so the act is discovery rather than janitorial. Of course, if I kack too many altissimo notes, we made need a janitor.

An entire day to practice tomorrow! Almost...Actually, I have to run and pick up a piece for a Feb. 4 concert. It's by David Lang, a person I know not at all. I haven't even Googled him yet. Talk about an act of discovery. Ah, on the same concert, I'll be doing the Debussy 1er Rhapsodie. I'll post the details sooner or later.


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