Bass Blog

Michael Hovnanian plays bass in an orchestra located in a large midwestern city.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Week 07

This week’s CSO program

SIBELIUS Violin Concerto
INTERMISSION
BRUCKNER Symphony No. 4 in E-flat Major (Romantic) (1880 version)
Christoph von Dohnányi, conductor
Arabella Steinbacher, violin

Monday
7:30 MOB concert

Tuesday
10-12:30 CSO rehearsal

Wednesday
10-12:30 1:30-3:30 CSO rehearsals

Thursday
10-12:30 CSO rehearsal
8 CSO concert

Friday
1:30 CSO concert

Saturday
CBE rehearsal TBA
8 CSO concert

Sunday
3 CSO concert
7 CBE rehearsal

I write this on Wednesday October 31, sitting by the front door giving out candy to the 500 or so of the little extortionists we expect to greet this year. So far, rehearsals for the concert this week have resembled long, mildly unpleasant medical procedures rather than preparation for a musical performance. I am happy to report the patient not much worse for wear after three treatments. I even have to grudgingly admit the Maestro’s ‘mechanistic’ approach to the Bruckner produced some good results. Rather than a harmony lesson, we got a look at the nuts and bolts of the piece.

Here is a rehearsal schedule to drive musicians crazy:

Wednesday
10-12:30
Bruckner Symphony No. 4
Sibelius Violin concerto (without soloist)

1:30-3:30
Sibelius (with soloist)
Bruckner

First, I can’t remember the last time we rehearsed any concerto without the soloist. Nobody would expect such treatment for something as familiar as the Sibelius. Next, putting the Bruckner at the beginning of the first rehearsal and the end of the second insures the maximum number of players will sit around waiting to play. As a rule, rehearsals are scheduled according to a sort of ‘Farewell Symphony’ rule, with the smaller pieces coming later so that those who don’t play might go home.

The players suggested the more sensible schedule of
10-12:30 Bruckner

1:30-3:30 Sibelius

but were turned down because the Maestro had to have Bruckner on both rehearsals. Well, wouldn’t you know, on Wednesday, he spent the entire morning picking, poking, prodding, and otherwise dissecting the Bruckner until it became apparent he wouldn’t get to Sibelius after all. Then, as I expected all along, he decided we didn’t need to return to the Bruckner in the second rehearsal either. And, of course, he got to take credit for the magnanimous gesture of letting musicians go home early in what turned out to be sort of a nifty end-around of the musicians who asked for that schedule in the first place.

The only other note this week is that the Sibelius is a piece I always look forward to. It doesn’t seem to matter who is playing violin.

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