Concert Season 2007 – 2008

23 07 2007

Orchestra rehearsals are once again underway here at school, this time with a lot of “not-so-old-yet-not-so-new” blood in the ranks. Apparently, my gig with the math department last school year has rewarded me with more than a few seniors screwing-up the courage to give the orchestra a try. All I can say is, “FINALLY!!!”

In keeping with orchestral tradition, I immediately plopped into their laps their parts for Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus and Mozart’s Gloria from his Great Mass in C-Minor. I’m experimenting with the idea of giving the orchestra rehearsal assignments wherein we sort of “crawl through” these works phrase-by-phrase, week-by-week. The goal is to get the members used to a high level of performance that is slow but consistent.

So far, with the two rehearsals we’ve had, I must say that I am pleased beyond description with the results: they play the opening parts of the Hallelujah Chorus with a certain transparency that I’ve never experienced before with the orchestra – they’re rhythmic sense is far better than it was with the ensemble I conducted two years ago, and (and this really surprised me) what took 2 months to tentatively “play” last year when we first attempted Gloria now took only 2 weeks.

Of course, there is still much work to be done – the new principals of the violin sections still need breaking-in, and their concept of dynamics is still quite dismal – but the quality of the rehearsals is such that I find no desire to throw a fit before or even at the orchestra (which comes as a surprise to many, even myself), which I believe results in a better performance overall.

As they say, “Gradatem Ferociter!”

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