Conductor’s Notes – 23rd January

Good morning friends. Thank you all for a great start to the week, I thought that was an excellent and very productive rehearsal; I hope you all thought so too.
A huge thanks to Chris for leading the Wind sectional – some great feedback on this below.

What we did on Monday 23rd January:

Today was ‘Beethoven day’, working solely on Symphony No. 7. We started with the 4th movement (Allegro con brio) getting together the different layers of the texture, as well as ensuring the semiquavers don’t rush. We also made sure to bring out the melody appropriately in bars 24 (woodwind and brass), and 32 (strings). After this, Wind went downstairs to recap this opening separately, while Strings carried on from Letter A, joining up all of the semiquaver motifs, keeping the transitions smooth.

Then we went to the 1st movement. Strings worked from bar 84, keeping the dotted rhythm steady, as well as looking at the inner parts (slow practice here, second violins and violas), before locking in the first violin and cello parts in bars 101-108. We also played with the ‘lop-sided’ rhythms in bars 112, and looked further ahead to bar 171, keeping the ornaments on the beat. Winds looked at the beginning of the 1st movement, working on ensemble and blend, before looking at the ‘Vivace’ and gradually speeding it up. The hard thing is the relentless dotted rhythm, which was worked on very thoroughly.

After the break, Strings looked at the 3rd movement (Presto), gradually speeding it up. We put lots of colour and character into the music, keeping it lively and engaged. Have confidence in bars 25-28, so the rising motif works. Winds also looked at the start of the 3rd movement, practicing it slowly and accurately, with a little bit of speeding up to the fuller tempo. It’s good to keep the style and articulation as clean as possible when practicing it slowly, so it translates to the full tempo. Winds also had a brief look at the Assai meno presto (bar 149), to get the contrast of melodic ideas.

We finished the rehearsal by running through the opening of the 1st movement in tutti (careful not to rush on the semiquavers), and then working on the Vivace, putting into practice the sectionals work. Clearly excellent focus and practice, as the rhythms were much better, and we worked a bit on balance between parts. Finally, we ran the opening of the 3rd movement.

What we’ll do on Monday 30th January:

I’d like to begin by working on the 1st movement of the Beethoven, before splitting off to sectionals again for work on the development section (beginning bar 177). After the break, we’ll look at Wand of Youth Suite 1: 2. Serenade, Suite 2: 3. Moths and Butterflies, and 5. The Tame Bear.

Extra Rehearsal

A reminder about our extra rehearsal on Saturday 11th February at Adrian’s. The rehearsal will run from 14:00-17:30 with plenty of breaks. Most people have confirmed their availability, but if you haven’t, could you please confirm your availability for this.

Spotify Playlist

The Spotify Playlist for the term is HERE. Do please give it a listen, or find the pieces on YouTube – listening to them regularly will help ingrain the tricky bits.

See you all on Monday 30th.