Dice, Mince, Puree.

19 02 2009

Mid-week rehearsals really are a case study in patience and consideration. This is the time when the excuses come out of the woodwork at the last minute, fast and thick. The excuses range from “Sir-I’ve-chosen-to-be-involved-in-too-many-school-organizations-and-activities-and-now-they’re-all-making-urgent-demands-of-me-at-the-same-time” to “I forgot!”

I’m actually starting to notice a pattern in excuse-delivery: wait until I’m to caught-up in the actual rehearsal before popping the excuse in front of a lot of people so that I will be to flustered to argue and therefore am obliged to give-in. A rather elegant methodology, I must say so.

But yesterday, I decided to be as positive about it as possible. Only one violist? Hey, I’m glad you’re here. Two cellists? Definitely better than one cellist. Four 2nd Violins? Not bad! Two 1st violins? Oh, I’ve worked with worse.

All in all, rehearsal wasn’t too bad: the flutes were out in force, and the Principal Flute amazed Principal Percussionist with her vacuum cleaner lungs. Intonation was still a bit dodgy, but that wasn’t too much of a problem. I did learn something new about the fine art of blending.

Here in the Philippines, the term blending is often used to mean singing or playing in harmony. But that’s not how I’m using the word now. I’m referring to the blending of sonorities; how actual timbres, not pitches, combine. I discovered that two people can actually play the same note in tune and in time, yet still fail to blend. I’m not sure how exactly that works (it could be because it takes at least 3 violins to sound like a group of violins – two violins sound like…well…two violins), but it does provide some very interesting food for thought.

I do hope someone would like to take-up conducting next school year so I can put in some time playing in The Orchestra…to see what it’s like among the rank and file…gain an appreciation for what they have to deal with in regards to the instrument they play, the music in front of them, and the quirky fellow waving that baton around.




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