Tuesday, September 19, 2006
We'd worked quite a lot on "Swedish Rhapsody" for the recital, and I thought we were getting closer to a decent run-through. But with only two more full rehearsal sessions and then a brief rehearsal the evening of the recital, we were probably reaching quite a bit. I guess the Homer group was going to fill in the gaps. With their absence, our conductor decided to set aside Swedish Rhapsody and instead play something quite different - "Knock on Wood", which is all pizzicato for all players. We'd only looked at it the first time last night. My challenge is accurately counting all the rests in the piece. I worked on it briefly this morning - and did well enough, I guess. I had put a lot more effort into Swedish Rhapsody, and was actually beginning to think I might be ready with three more weeks of dedicated practice.
As we played through several pieces in last night's rehearsal I noticed that every time we started a new section, EVEN THOUGH I'D WORKED ON THESE PIECES AT LEAST SEVEN SEPARATE TIMES IN THE LAST WEEK, I would first mess up royally, sometimes just stopping after getting totally lost. On the next runthrough, I'd at least get the notes right; and finally, if we played it a third time, I'd even get the timing (more or less). What's new for me is hearing others playing something different - not only different pitches, but different timings. I think it might help if I could listen to the first violins a few times separately, while reading along in my score. Then the rest of us, playing together without the first violins, so we could hear our part. Then all together.
Each day, after warming up with a few scales and shifting exercises, I reluctantly start up the metronome (on slow, although today I increased the speed one notch - 4 bpm). Why do I dislike the metronome so much? Maybe because it's such a struggle to play against. It takes several tries before I get there. Several times I had to stop, count it out loud against the tick-tock, play pizzicato a time or two, and then I'd pick up the bow and it would come together. Using the metronome has really helped me with the Bach pieces. With a little effort they come out pretty good! So, why doesn't this positive feedback (admittedly from my own ears - but aren't we our own harshest critics?) make me more enthusiastic about the metronome? In a way, because I'm having to flail around with rhythms and tempos on pieces I'd "thought" I had long since mastered, just trying to stay with the metronome, it feels as if I've taken a giant step backwards.
Two cello references on TV recently. The new Studio 60 had a character mention something was "as unlikely as me suddenly learning to play the cello". Tonight's episode of House began with the Prelude to Bach's Cello Suite No. 1.
I didn't realize your orchestra was strings-only. An all-pizzicato piece sounds like fun, but I would think it would be difficult to stay together. I hope you'll get to play that Swedish Rhapsody again someday.
Hey, I think your last post Cellonightmare affected my dreams-- I had a cello nightmare of my own. All I remember is some guy tossing my hardcase (cello inside) down a cliff, and me watching it tumble, wondering how broken the cello would be at the end.
I'm also hoping we'll continue with the Swedish Rhapsody regardless of the concert. The cello part isn't that challenging, but the piece sure sounds good when it all comes together.
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