Tonight we had our dress rehearsal for this week’s concerts featuring the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh singing three Brahms works, and the orchestra playing Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. The real excitement came from our on-stage partners (some of the PSO’s closest friends and supporters). I’m not sure about the numbers in addition to the orchestra and chorus, but suffice it to say the stage was full.
As a donor premium, our friends were invited to sit on the stage with the orchestra as we played our final rehearsal for the week. Maestro Rafael Frubeck de Burgos led us through each piece without stopping (I think to give the guests on stage the treat of a complete "performance"), then returned to polish spots that needed the attention. I was especially pleased to see Jim Wilkinson on stage with us. He is one of the most thoughtful and active members of the PSO family and has been absent while recovering from a serious accident he suffered many months ago…….I’m so happy he’s sharing the stage with us once again.
Beethoven 5 tends to be a piece that plays itself, but the Maestro was insistent on keeping stability throughout the work…..holding tempos and keeping the famous "fate" theme from running as it does in many performances. He also had a few interesting balance ideas for Steve and me in our horn parts. Many of the more familiar horn licks are quite subdued and then there are a few less active secondary parts that he encouraged us to play at an "epic" level. He actually used the word epic in describing what he wanted from us (it’s in the 3rd movement just after the first fortissimo statement of the horns…..or should I say the first forte section followed by the epic section!!). He seems to want more each time we play it.
I’m hoping to have a video on the blog site soon. I’ve completed the video and only have to wait for the approval process to happen. The subject is Master Peter’s Puppet Show and is a short vignette narrated by Judy Brown, the stage director of Bob Brown’s Puppets. I hope it makes it to prime time soon. Keep checking over the next few days, we might get lucky. [10/28/06 – Moderator Update – the video is now uploaded]
Next week we have some outreach concerts and then in comes Marin Alsop for a week of concerts featuring Tchaikovsky’s 4th Symphony (another expression of "fate"), and a 20th (maybe 21st) century work by MacMillan. The 2nd horn part looks like a bear. There is one notation in my part that shows a glissando from low to high with the words, "like an eruption"……….bang……here it comes!