Monday, December 05, 2005

Tomorrow Night's Concert

Tomorrow evening the Albuquerque Philharmonic will be performing a concert, and I’m a member of the viola section. I’m excited about some aspects of the concert, and not so excited about other things. The music is really excellent – Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Russian Easter Overture”, the 2nd Nutcracker Suite from Tchaikovsky, and also Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with David Felberg as soloist. It’s wonderful literature, and not without its challenges.

I’ve probably practiced some of the sections, particularly in the Russian Easter Overture, more thoroughly than anything else I’ve done with the APO. Overall, I feel pretty well prepared and I’ve spent extra effort on the parts because for the next concert, on Sunday the 11th, I’ll be sitting principal. First chair is a really different place to sit than anywhere else in the section. Mainly, it is very exposed, meaning that there is no one to follow. In fact, the section will be following me for entrances and bowings. So I really have to pay attention, concentrate, and have my part totally together. The other different thing is that it is much easier to hear what the other sections and particularly, the other principal players are doing. Overall, it’s very challenging but very satisfying. After this concert, though, we’ll be rotating and Natalie and I will head to the back of the section.

Although the music is enjoyable and I feel pretty well prepared, there never seems to be enough time to rehearse and perfect the fine details that make this music as good as it can be. Of course this is largely because we are a community orchestra and thus a wide range of players are members. In some cases, people are less prepared than they should be although overall, the quality of this group often surprises me.

When I’m playing, either in the quartet or in the APO, it often occurs to me that “this is what I should be doing”. It’s like anything else that I enjoy or have enjoyed in the past such as rock climbing, mountain biking, etc. While I’m doing it, I don’t think about anything else. There’s definitely a “Zen” element to playing music – you have to get into the “zone” and focus 100% of your energy, both physical and mental, into playing. Considering the overall level of dedication found in the APO, I would say that this feeling is shared among most of the members.

I’ll post an update after the concerts.


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