Tuesday, October 16, 2007

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.

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