DVORÁK Symphony No. 8
OLIVER Federal Street (Great God, we sing that mighty hand)
HATTON Duke Street (O God, beneath thy guiding hand)
ROOT Shining Shore
TRADITIONAL Good Night, Ladies
BISHOP Home, Sweet Home
IVES New England Holidays
[redacted] Symphony Chorus
Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor
2-4:30 Trout Quintet rehearsal
12:30-2:30 Prokofiev Quintet rehearsal
7:30 concert (Rameau/Vivaldi)
12-2:30 3:30-5:30 rehearsals
9:30-11:30 In-school concerts
7:30 Trout Quintet concert
7:30 Ars Viva Benefit rehearsal
This week = last week. I’m behind again.
We had one of the quirkier podium performances this week. In rehearsals the ratio of talk to useful information conveyed threatened to fall into the red zone. To make matters worse, although more entertaining, the Maestro’s score for the Ives didn’t seem to match the set of parts the players were using. Questions fired from all corners of the orchestra began to resemble a Bush administration press conference with dissembling, non-responsive, or off-putting replies. At one point a seemingly simple question about whether a certain measure would be conducted in two or in four prompted a lengthy non sequitur; when pressed on the subject, the maestro admitted he would have to get back to the questioner on that (I can’t recall if he ever did).
Rumor has it somewhere in the chain of command the fact that a chorus would be needed for these concerts was overlooked. A small brave group hastily assembled at the rear of the stage (the normal chorus seats had been sold) needed amplification to be heard over the orchestra. A sad but humorous incident occurred when, after starting and stopping several times to have the chorus microphones turned up again, one of my colleagues muttered to no one in particular “Why doesn’t he ask he orchestra to play more softly?” We can all breathe a sigh of relief such desperate, scorched earth tactics were not needed.
The Dvorak was conducted (mostly) from memory – the score lay pointedly closed on the conductor’s stand throughout in what seemed to be a sort of ‘look mommy, no hands!’ type gesture. Of course we know the all too predictable results of such ill-advised showmanship; the inevitable crash, the tears, the band-aids…