Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Suggestions for new music?

Alison brought forth several suggestions for us to play over the next few months, and there were quite a few differing opinions on some old standards. If you have ideas on what might be fun for us to tackle in the near future, in any genre, please leave a comment. If you have links to sheet music, audio or video, even better, so post them here. Nothing's guaranteed, but you may have heard something recently that's not foremost in Alison's mind.

Last rehearsal before performance

Thursday is our first performance of the year! Alison says we sound great, so who are we to argue? We spent most of Tuesday evening attacking the trickiest bits of both the Corelli and the Schubert, which seem to be different for all the different sections!

Schubert: The form of the Schubert is A, A, B, B, C, C, D, D, A, B. The second time the first half of the Trio is played (part C in my form notation) it should be pianissimo. The two four-bar phrases that cover bars 45-48 and 49-52 (they begin part D) should crescendo and decrescendo slightly over the four bars. There will be a slight lift at the end of bar 56: watch for it!

Corelli: make sure dynamic differences are quite clear: make the pianos piano and the fortes really forte! During the fugue from bars 48 to 54, save your down-bows so as not to end up stuck at the tip. There may be a ritardando at the end, again, watch Alison for instructions.

Alison also handed out "Rondo in G" by Mozart. We played through that a couple of times, and will do so again next time. We'll also work on trills.

On Thursday, players are welcome to come to the dinner as well, free to all guests; it starts at 6:00. Several of us will be there a bit early to get the chairs and stands (bring your own!) and to warm up. We are second on the after-dinner program, so we're likely to be on at sevenish. To wear: black bottoms and coloured tops for everyone.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Our conductor, Alison Black, has recorded a contemporary classical CD with George Morgan, of his compositions: Knockturns, for violin and piano. George was interviewed by Angela Antle on the Weekend Arts Magazine last Sunday, and the interview ought to soon appear is now posted on the Liner Notes webpage. Congratulations!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Extra rehearsal

Many thanks to Anne who submitted this week's rehearsal report in my absence. She recalls 12 players in attendance: 5 first violins, 3 second violins, 3 third violins/violas and 1 cello. They mostly worked on the Corelli Vivace piece. Notice to those participating in the St. David's Congregational Dinner on November 1: it was decided to wear black bottoms and assorted color tops for performance. I assume that's assorted among people, not among areas of shirt. But I could be wrong.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Meeting notes

  • Since the Suzuki Concerto Class rehearses in the church sanctuary on Tuesdays and doesn't finish until 7:00, we voted to move all future rehearsals to 7:30 (be there to tune up at 7:15) until 9:00, to allow for the changeover. If you forget and get there early, put your ear up against the door to hear the teen orchestra do their thing, because they sound incredible.
  • We've been invited to play at a dinner at St. David's on November 1st, and there are enough people available so that we have accepted. It's a free dinner hosted by the women's groups and attended by the congregation and guests to welcome the new minister Rev. Jonathan Dent, and there will be a variety of entertainment. It starts at 6:00 in the church hall; we ought to be there a bit early to get organized. We'll play Corelli's Vivace and the Schubert. Players are welcome to the meal as well, of course!
  • To make sure we're ready to perform, there will be an extra rehearsal next Tuesday, October 23 at 7:15-for-7:30.
  • Erin has kindly volunteered to serve as music librarian: if you have lost your music or have missed the rehearsal when it was given out, e-mail her with your polite request and she'll get a copy to you. Abuse this privilege at your peril!

Has anyone spotted a YouTube or other rendition of the Schubert online, free to listen to? if so, please post a comment with the link!

A Schubert-centric rehearsal

Our rehearsal this week was a bit short since we accidentally overlapped schedules with the Suzuki Concerto Class. Five first violins, four seconds, two thirds, two violas, and four cellos were present. We warmed up with C-major scales in unison and in round, and did some rhythm work with the spicatto technique (more about that at Wikipedia). That's used mainly by the lower strings who play bars of quarter rest-quarter note-quarter note, mostly in the Trio (second half). It gives the piece a light and airy feeling.

The following hour was a thorough work-through of the Schubert; we got a good grounding in how it's supposed to sound, and pointing in how to make it sound that way. Some things I made notes of:

  • The first note of the bar tends to be highlighted by the higher strings, and the second and third notes by the lower strings, so the notes get volleyed back and forth.
  • The four-bar phrases in the Trio need to be "hairpinned" dynamically - slightly louder in the middle than at the ends - and the phrases get gradually louder.
  • The form of the piece is as follows: play the Minuet part with repeats as printed, then the Trio with repeats as printed, then return to the top and play the Minuet without repeats.
  • Among the first violins, artistic license was invoked: in the fifth last bar in the Trio, there are four eighth notes and a quarter note, all marked to be played with one down-bow. It was decided to play the eighth notes with a down-bow and the quarter note with an up-bow, to allow the subsequent half-note to be played with a down-bow.

We finished with a quick meeting which I'll expound on in a separate post.