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Orchestral rep thread
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AndrewH
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February 22, 2020 - 7:09 am
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I don't think this really belongs in @Pete_Violin 's "first orchestra experience" thread, but since people posting there have been interested getting more familiar with orchestral repertoire, I thought it might be good to start posting pieces from my orchestras' concert programs more often. Even the most difficult pieces are repertoire that ambitious amateur players can aim for.

I'd love to see other people post what their orchestras are playing too. Hopefully it inspires people to get involved.

This weekend is somewhat of a milestone for me, as I'm playing my 100th orchestral concert in Sacramento (135th lifetime). The program is just two pieces: the Clara Schumann piano concerto and Anton Bruckner's 7th Symphony.

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Gordon Shumway
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February 22, 2020 - 7:42 am
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It would have been great if, in the second one, Mini Me had been leading the orchestra.

Andrew

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GregW
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congrats Andrew! 

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AndrewH
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Gordon Shumway said
It would have been great if, in the second one, Mini Me had been leading the orchestra.

  

Coincidentally, Eschenbach happens to be the first conductor I ever saw lead an orchestra. He was music director of the Houston Symphony when I was in middle school and high school.

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AndrewH
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Some thoughts on the two pieces on this weekend's program, now that I'm not busy playing them.

The Clara Schumann piano concerto is, I think, almost criminally under-performed. Today Clara Schumann is mostly known as Robert Schumann's wife, but when they were alive Clara was arguably the more famous Schumann as she was one of the world's leading pianists. But European society at the time was extremely reluctant to recognize women as composers, so this concerto fell into obscurity after her death. Perhaps of interest to string players: the entire second movement is a duet between the piano and a solo cello.

As for Bruckner's 7th, don't be intimidated by its length. Just sit back -- with a glass of wine, if that's your thing -- and let the sound carry you along. The whole symphony has a mystical feel to it. Time doesn't really seem to matter here, the music just keeps flowing. (Keys don't matter either. The key is constantly changing, and overanalyzing that just kills the atmosphere.)

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AndrewH
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March 8, 2020 - 10:43 am
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Just got the music for my next concert. First rehearsal is a week from Monday, concert is about a month after that. The program is just two pieces:

Prokofiev's rarely-played Symphony-Concerto for cello and orchestra, which is one of his last compositions. 

 

Beethoven's 7th, which needs no introduction. Our conductor tends to take Beethoven at a faster tempo than most, so we're probably aiming for something like this.

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GregW
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@andrew prokofiev looks like a workout for the cello soloist and one I would think he/she would be excited about!   Has your group performed this one in the past?  

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AndrewH
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GregW said
@andrew prokofiev looks like a workout for the cello soloist and one I would think he/she would be excited about!   Has your group performed this one in the past?  

  

Probably not. Definitely not since 1997, which is how far back our list of archived concert recordings goes. (There's so much repertoire out there that an orchestra playing only five classical concerts a year isn't likely to repeat lesser-known pieces for many years if at all.) I like that we play a lot of lesser-known music, and not just "greatest hits" all the time.

We're playing it with a guest soloist, not one of our own cellists: Amos Yang, assistant principal cellist of the San Francisco Symphony. That said, I'd think it's still exciting for a seasoned pro like him because there aren't many opportunities to perform this piece.

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GregW
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AndrewH said

GregW said

@andrew prokofiev looks like a workout for the cello soloist and one I would think he/she would be excited about!   Has your group performed this one in the past?  

  

Probably not. Definitely not since 1997, which is how far back our list of archived concert recordings goes. (There's so much repertoire out there that an orchestra playing only five classical concerts a year isn't likely to repeat lesser-known pieces for many years if at all.) I like that we play a lot of lesser-known music, and not just "greatest hits" all the time.

We're playing it with a guest soloist, not one of our own cellists: Amos Yang, assistant principal cellist of the San Francisco Symphony. That said, I'd think it's still exciting for a seasoned pro like him because there aren't many opportunities to perform this piece.

  

Not that a professional wouldnt be able to learn that in a month, but I was thinking oh my gosh...thats a lot to commit to memory in month if you guys haven't performed it before. So how does it work for a soloist?  Is it uncommon for them to have the music and a page turner?  I didn't see him with anything to reference.  Talk about being in the spotlight!

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AndrewH
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March 8, 2020 - 10:47 pm
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Oh, I'm sure the soloist has already been practicing it for some time. The entire season's programming (fall to spring) was announced last April and the soloist was most likely contacted at least a few weeks before that. (Orchestras always have a soloist lined up before they announce a concerto will be on the program!) We in the orchestra just got our music, but that's fine because we won't be playing from memory.

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Gordon Shumway
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The London Mozart Players are doing a performance in June of Noye's Fludde for which they are having an open call, with parts available from grades 2 thro 5. I have applied, and my teacher doesn't sound uninterested. It should be fun, but it remains to be seen if COVID will kill it off.

I don't know the music well, apart from in the movie Moonrise Kingdom, so I've just ordered a CD.

Andrew

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BillyG
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March 12, 2020 - 4:57 pm
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New to me ( not surprising! ) - just listening to a full operatic version (audio only)... cool so far and just from what I'm listening to at the start, and my VERY limited exposure to such-like - it's initially somewhat Wagnerian sounding - but - I'm probably way off-base on that !!!   

Thanks for introducing me to that one, and I hope your performance goes ahead !  

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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AndrewH
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Found a full performance of Noye's Fludde on YouTube.

 

I actually hadn't heard of it before. Aside from his War Requiem and Peter Grimes, Britten doesn't seem to get a lot of performances in the US.

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Irv
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Upon the recommendation of AndrewH, I purchased a Cd performance of the Clara Schumann Piano Concerto (I am a sucker for Romantic Era piano concertos).  It is a student composition (she was 14 at the time it was written) and the first movement received a later orchestral arrangement by Robert Schumann.  Better than what I could do, which is scant praise.  I advise a YouTube listen before adding this one to a home library.

A much nicer work by the same composer was the Piano Trio.  

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

It is unpleasant to be thought so uncleverly unclean and capable of poisoning a whole city.—Sir Walter Scott

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Gordon Shumway
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AndrewH said
I actually hadn't heard of [Noye's Fludde] before. Aside from his War Requiem and Peter Grimes, Britten doesn't seem to get a lot of performances in the US.

"You either love it or hate it" is a cliché, but it does seem to apply to Britten. A lot of people are haters. There's also the Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra.

If you don't mind buying DVDs, take a look at Moonrise Kingdom - there's a fair flavour of Britten in there.

Here are a couple of things

Andrew

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AndrewH
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Irv said
Upon the recommendation of AndrewH, I purchased a Cd performance of the Clara Schumann Piano Concerto (I am a sucker for Romantic Era piano concertos).  It is a student composition (she was 14 at the time it was written) and the first movement received a later orchestral arrangement by Robert Schumann.  Better than what I could do, which is scant praise.  I advise a YouTube listen before adding this one to a home library.

A much nicer work by the same composer was the Piano Trio.  

  

I personally have the exact opposite opinion: I love the concerto, and don't especially like the Piano Trio (I probably have the same CD) -- I find the concerto compares favorably to its contemporaries such as the two by Chopin. Certainly not the same kind of piece as the big late Romantic concertos; I tend to think of them as different eras.

But I would advise previewing anything on YouTube before buying.

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