Hi, I’m Natalie Paolini and a violin student of PSO member, Alison Fujito. It is through her encouragement I have started this adventure into the blog world. Today I had the wonderful chance to sit in on a PSO rehearsal (for the March 25-27concert), which was made possible by my teacher, Alison. My blog will contain my perspective on rehearsals that I am privileged to sit in on, and the experience and knowledge I gain that would be helpful to any aspiring musician as myself.
My mind is full of a myriad of thoughts and views; it is hard to know where to start. Firstly, I had never attended a PSO rehearsal until today, and what a wonderful opportunity it was and a great experience for me. It was amazing to be able to be behind the scenes and see this great orchestra rehearse. My view from the left side grand box offered much for the experience as a whole, as did the feeling that I had while standing on the stage. Unexplainable. It was very rewarding in the sense that it was so personal as I was one of the few in the audience.
It was such a thrill as I witnessed the PSO play one of Rimsky-Korsakov’s most popular works, “Scheherazade”. It is one thing to hear a recording, but the live performance is so much more rewarding. The violin solos were brilliant as they represented Scheherazade’s voice and stories. Each note, similar to that of an intriguing bird call held anonymity to it as the phrase crescendoed to melody and faded into the orchestra’s reply. Each movement was lyrical with the melodic passages throughout.
Looking at the performance as a whole, there was an exceptionally finished touch as the guest conductor, Andres Nelsons, was brilliant in how well he conveyed his points on how he wanted the piece to come across to the audience. You as the on-looker moved with the music. You could definitely see the connection between the orchestra and conductor. Even when, in my opinion the piece was not so lyrical the connection bond was not broken even by a fraction – minute as can be.
An example of how the orchestra and the conductor stayed connected was how they played “Requiem for Strings” by the Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu. Although very atonal, it stayed connected. Of course it is not as if you would expect the orchestra to suddenly fall apart, but emotionally they were still connected and the vibes transcended to you as the audience. This particular piece was added to acknowledge those who have lost their lives in the calamity in Japan. It certainly conveyed the message intended. In this particular piece though, I must admit, I was not as connected musically as I was with Scheherazade and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2. The pianist, Jonathan Biss did a stunning interpretation in the rehearsal as he gave his effortless performance.
To sum up my experience I will say this – The feeling that is evoked from one who appreciates or has a great love for music can only be described as sheer magic. That word may not even suffice.