Bass Blog

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

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Saturday, June 04, 2011

Marcello Sonatas recording project part 09

Sorry to disappoint anyone who might have hoped I quit after two sonatas (there are six in this set). This is a busy time of year, musically, so it has been difficult finding time to get time in the room where I'm making these recordings, not to mention practicing. As it was, the amount of noises, interruptions, and distractions during the recording of this sonata became almost unbearable. Numerous takes were ruined by people barging in “Uh...sorry..” and slamming the door on their way out. Someone seemed to be joy-riding in the freight elevator, and then a radio started up in the next room. On top of that, I discovered the continuo player had not adequately prepared his part, so after recording the solo line, I decided to fold up my tent and come back another day.

A few people expressed disbelief at my assertion that it is often very difficult to hear oneself while playing in the orchestra. During the rehearsals for Mahler 9 this week, during the cacophonous Rondo-Burleske movement, I realized my D-string had slipped one whole tone below pitch. The thing is, I have have no idea how many lines (pages) I'd played after it happened and before I noticed. How about that?

I read somewhere that in the Baroque period, Adagio was a slower tempo than Largo. That little tidbit of information, whether true or not, has given me some guidance in choosing tempos for the slow movements. The rolled chord on the first and last notes of this movement was not written by Marcello, but cadged from a recording of the piece as played by a cellist.

click below to listen

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