Sunday, February 28, 2010

Baby & Bolero

So, I've been playing Annapolis Symphony for the past week...hence being MIA here.

Apparently, blogging and symphony work don't mesh well in my life right now.

It was a really difficult but very rewarding and fun program. It was called 'Sexy Sounds' (all February programs usually have some kind of love/romantic theme) and included 'Psyche and Eros' by Franck, Bartok's 'The Miraculous Mandarin', 'Salome's Dance' by Strauss, a Piazolla Tango, and the piece de resistance (for the audience!), Ravel's Bolero.

There's something about that darn piece that everyone loves...maybe because it's one of those that gets stuck in your head forever and ever. Maybe it's because everyone gets a solo (well, everyone in the wind section anyway). Now, I do love listening to my colleagues and they always do a marvelous job, but I am not one of Bolero's many ardent fans - perhaps I've played the viola part one too many times: the first time! Seriously - here's a picture. It's the same all the way through...can you tell? At the very least I can say that it's more interesting and less shoulder-tiring than Strauss waltzes!

One thing made rehearsing this piece actually fun this week...My small son woke up every time we played it. Who knows if he liked it or hated it, but it certainly made him get his groove on. Maybe it was the 15 minutes of listening to the exact same ryhthm played incessantly by the snare drum, or maybe it was the inexorable build of volume and tension; whatever it was, this baby was rocking and rolling every time we played it! Uh oh - have I programmed Bolero into his DNA now?? Poor little guy...

On a side note, he seemed to think the Bartok was great too and you can't get much farther on the opposite end of the spectrum from Bolero than Bartok! It's really fun to keep track of/notice what sounds he responds to the most:

loud sounds, of course - the timpani and bass drum are favorites, and loud full orchestra sections, but he also seems to like it when I'm (the violas are) playing something vigorous and/or loud- the high volume, high passion sections of the Franck were also very popular with bambino this week.

All in all...a fun week of orchestra with baby on board!

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