Bottoms up!! -Bob Lauver

Just a quick peek at the stage before tonight’s performance of Higdon’s
Blue Cathedral.  The last couple minutes of the piece involve some
unusual "instruments".

Our parts call for crystal glasses tuned to "C" and "G" to be played
by rubbing wet fingers around the rim to get them to "sing".  I think
this is referred to as "glass harmonica" in some instances.  The
glasses that showed up in the first rehearsal were pretty lame, so Joe
Rounds went home to raid his cabinet.  He came back with some proper
crystal that rang with a little more volume than what we had.  In
trying to find the best sounding glasses, I did a little experimenting
at home and found out a curious fact (confirmed by Joe).  It seems that
most crystal when empty rings in the general neighborhood of a "B" in
pitch.  The problem comes when you adjust the pitch to a required
note……the only way to do this is by adding water and dropping the
pitch, but you also dampen (excuse the pun) the sound because the water
keeps the glass from vibrating as freely as it does empty.  Here’s a
link to a few pictures that I took before the performance.

http://www.unicyclist.com/gallery/?g2_view=core.ShowItem&g2_itemId=161343

Nice piece, and this week we have another very talented young
conductor.  Not the typical blockbuster standard repertoire in the
program, but a great program nonetheless.  This is the second time I’ve
ever performed the "Poem of Ecstacy", the first time I was still a
student at Peabody subbing with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.  It’s
a great piece, a tour de force for George Vosburgh, and really shows
off the incredible dynamic range the PSO has.  A very good chance to
hear the PSO in a very different light than you have before……hope
to see you there.

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Nov 4