Conductor’s Notes – 30th January

Hello all, a great rehearsal filled with lots of Beethoven and Elgar, and lots of progress made, so lock that all in.

What we did on Monday 30th January:

We started with the opening of the Beethoven, focusing strongly on keeping the semiquaver subdivisions steady, as well as giving the music direction through the long chords and ‘static’ passages. We also looked at the balance and blend of Letter A, and its corresponding moment at bar 42. After this we did some really detailed work on the development section of the movement, beginning in bar 177. This included keeping the persistent rhythm accurate, passing the melody between parts (such as violins to oboe in bars 190-191), and the different colours as he passes the motifs around the instruments and builds towards Letter I.

After the break we played through (and worked on) the remaining Elgar movements, beginning with Suite 1, II. Serenade. The important thing in this movement is to be mindful of the melody, keeping the accompaniment light throughout, and making the ‘baton-pass’ smooth when he passes the melody to a different instrument, such as Violin 1 at Figure 8. After this we did Suite 2, III. Moths and Butterflies where, immediately, we needed to be careful with not rushing the semiquavers and quavers in the melody (Violins 1 & 2 and Viola). Some of the shaping and colours were brought out in the wind parts, such as bar before Figure 31 in the Flutes, and the change of character at Figure 32 was established nicely. Fortunately, these movements are quite repetitive, so once we’ve rehearsed it once, we can apply it to the rest of the movement. We finished with Suite 2, V. The Tame Bear, really evoking the images created by the music, with quiet but ‘ploddy’ sounds, and biting forte-pianos. The best way to keep this one engaging is to over-emphasise everything!

What we’ll do on Monday 6th February:

We’ll start with Movement I. Intermezzo from the Karelia Suite, before looking at VI. The Wild Bears from Wand of Youth, Suite II. And then after the break, Horns, Trombones and Trumpets can go home, and we’ll do some detailed work on the Karelia Suite, Movement II.

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 6th.