It’s good for me…
So just a quick post from me tonight as I’m heading off again in the early hours of the morning tomorrow. I figure I’ve got a few moments to type whilst my toddler is resisting sleep.
So, tomorrow I fly to Prague to join a Czech ensemble. It’s only the second time that I’ve played with this particular group, and I really do enjoy it a lot! Part of what makes it enjoyable is the fact that they do pieces by the little known Czech composer Zelenka… who is notorious for writing fiendishly difficult parts! Often, in some other orchestras this would just attract grumbling and a defeatist attitude of playing it safe. However, in this orchestra (and other young orchestras) it is just seen as a challenge to step up and master the difficulties!
This above excerpt is a case in point (it is from the video at the top of the post). This painfully fast figure in the centre of the photo is roughly 8 notes at roughly (800-900 notes per minute), luckily there is only eight! Most other orchestras would take the easy route of slurring (bowing all eight with one motion, instead of 8 seperate ones!) or complaining until they had a slower tempo. I don’t forsee that happening, so I’ve been practicing away, making sure I’m not going to be the one that can’t do it! When I say that this is tricky, it is from the point of view of someone who is seen to be a player that normally finds fast things very easy!
This is another example… it’s deceptively simple looking, actually the earlier one is easier, just fast…
This one is bizarre in it’s harmonic language and the fact that it contains some near impossible chords combined with ornaments at the same time… Zelenka was an arse!
… but it is actually really great music, just that the musicians need to be in peak condition!
As a little funny story, the first time I played with them, they just had a short day of rehearsal before the concert. Which I thought was really odd for such a difficult programme. When I hit the first rehearsal, I was completely stunned by how good it all was in the first reading!
It wasn’t until later in the day that I was told that they already knew the programme and had played that particular piece many times already… and that I was the only one sight reading (ahem, I mean, having practiced hard and joining in at a later date…).
Anyway, I was worried that they wouldn’t call me back, but in the end they did several times (but I couldn’t fit them in due to existing commitments). So, then there was the usual freelancer worry of having said “no” so many times that that would be the end of the relationship… but I’m happy they called again, and this time I was able to go! Now, I just need to keep up with them and not embarrass myself!