Bass Blog

Michael Hovnanian formerly played bass with an orchestra located in a large midwestern city.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Week 14

December 12-23

This week at the world’s gratingest orchestra

DVORÁK Slavonic Dances
MOZART Oboe Concerto
BIZET Suite No. 2 from L'Arlésienne
STRAUSS Suite from Der Rosenkavalier
Ludovic Morlot, conductor
Eugene Izotov, oboe

2-8 Gunnelpumpers recording session

10-12:30 rehearsal
7:30 concert (Janacek, Kancheli, Rachmaninov)

12-2:30 3:30-5:30 rehearsals

10-12:30 rehearsal
8 concert

1:30 concert

8 concert

off (vacation begins!)

A six-hour recording session with that other group I play in probably would have culminated in a murder-suicide, but spending the day with the Gunnelpumpers was truly a pleasure. This session should wrap up the recording process for our first CD. I have no idea when it might come out. The myspace page is a bit out of date as I write this, but I’m sure Doug Johnson will put in the latest news soon enough.

Speaking of that other group, Morlot had an interesting take on how to approach the afterbeats in the Waltz sections of the Rosenkavalier suite. Basically, he wanted the fastest tempo strictly in time. In the slower tempos, the second beat placed as if still in the quick tempo. The result is that the second beat comes soonest in the slowest tempo, a bit later in the medium tempo, and in time in the fast tempo; despite the ungainly explanation (mine) a workable solution. Usually, the request for Viennese afterbeats produces as many takes on what that really means as there are players – sometimes more – with the resulting jumble about as Austrian (and full of…well…baloney) as Vienna Beef.

That made for an enlightening 5 minutes of rehearsal time. As for the other 145…. The maestro’s pluck out one eyelash at a time rehearsal technique might not have been the best approach for an orchestra that seems a little tired and is looking forward to vacation right now. That said, the lack of respect shown the present occupant of the podium is out of place. I can only conclude that the punch line to the old joke about the difference between an orchestra and a bull no longer applies.


Daniel Montoya Jr. said...

I just wanted to be "a fan" and say I enjoyed the Thursday morning rehearsal.

It was very nice to see your bass boxes in person (as close as the audience, anyway) and to try and guess which one you were.

Michael Hovnanian said...

Thanks! Were you in town for the conference?

I was the bored-looking bass player.

Daniel Montoya Jr. said...

Yes, I was there for the conference. I am lucky enough to be friends with Freddy Martin, father of Chris Martin, and was able to get a sneak preview....

...of an orchestra concert... in a city... that had a conference there this week/

cellogirl said...

I was at the thursday night concert, after performing at the conference on wednesday morning. A few of my friends and I have been trying to get our director to let us play Farandole, and I think this is the semester. The orchestra which cannot be named in a city which cannot be named did a wonderful job.

nocynic said...

Whoa, Mike! Do you really hate the job so much that you look forward to going home every night and dream of the day that you can retire? We should remember that there are about 50,000 musicians, many of whom play very well, who would love to switch places with us. Maybe we should get you in touch with some Holocaust survivors so they can come to understand what suffering truly is!

Michael Hovnanian said...

Hold on there Max! I'm not sure what your comment has to do with week 14 - Morlot and his rehearsal technique. 5 minutes of that rehearsal were really good!

Maybe you were thinking about 'Egress'?

All I can say about that is: tongue-in-cheek.