Bass Blog

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

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Week 22

After a week off, back to the grind

MOZART Piano Concerto No. 13
MOZART Divertimento for Strings in D Major
MOZART Piano Concerto No. 23
Mitsuko Uchida, conductor and piano

1:30-4 rehearsal
7:30 CBE rehearsal

2-4:30 rehearsal

1:30-4 5-7 rehearsals

11 AM CBE concert
8 concert

8 concert

11:30 Faure Requiem rehearsal
8 concert

1:30 Faure Requiem

The dreariest place to have lunch near our concert hall has to be the odd food court that boasts Hotdogs, a Subway, Popeye’s Chicken, and a Falafel place all under one roof. If this were a food blog I would steer readers to the falafel for sure and urge them to stay and soak up some of the ambience. The huge blue-glaring light fixtures that might have come out of a nearby parking garage bathe the place in an unholy light. Mismatched furniture is decidedly Reagan era McDonald’s vintage. To top it all off, the heating system is under performing on this frigid day, forcing most diners to eat in full winter regalia, giving the cavernous space a decidedly late Soviet Union feel. In spite of all that, the axis-of-evil food (falafel) makes it worth the short walk through the snow.

Uchida certainly brings a ray of sunshine into a dreary winter week. The best thing about her has to be that, unlike most podium poseurs, she doesn’t even pretend to be a conductor. She has an interesting way of leading rehearsals, flipping back forth through the score, singing the parts, answering questions or making general remarks in a soft, rapid voice. Sorry to say, we aren’t accustomed to paying constant close attention to what is coming from the podium. Uchida’s flighty, fluttery rehearsal technique suits her perfectly, but leaves the crossword playing, magazine reading, and chit chatting contingents of the orchestra often scratching their heads. She seems to be all about listening, which, if unusual for us, is a good thing. Still, it feels odd to play a Mozart piano concerto senza dogma.

The Divertimento for Strings will be rehearsed and performed without conductor, which should be interesting, to say the least.

Other highlights of the week include the CBE concert on Thursday as well as the Faure Requiem, Sunday. Every time I take a freelance gig, it turns out to be on the coldest, snowiest, hottest, rainiest, or otherwise most beastly week in recent memory. Maybe somebody is trying to tell me something. Always the optimist, I’m still looking forward to it.


Adriel said...

On the subject of winter weather, one of you Chicago-based bass bloggers needs to provide proper instruction on how to fall with one's instrument. Took a good spill during the ice storm in Washington last night and while my butt and elbow took most of the impact, the unsheathed end pin came a little too close to the femoral artery. That would have made a hell of an obituary.

Michael Hovnanian said...

You must always keep the instrument beneath you: let it break your fall.

Unknown said...

I'm guessing the Thursday concert at NIU didn't happen after all the nastiness there this week.

And adriel, who said this blog has anything to do with Chicago...?

Michael Hovnanian said...

Actually, we played at 11 AM. I was safely on the road back to my mysterious midwestern city by 1 PM.

My heart goes out to the people at NIU.