Daily Archives: February 6, 2003

First Rehearsal, New Conductor

8,900 visitors! Goodness. We’re about a week away from a year of the Owlyblog. That’s a lot of people. (Can’t fool me, I know that it’s a couple of you at work, checking several times throughout the day in desperation, seeking something, anything to fill the void…)

Last night was our first rehearsal with our new conductor, Douglas Knight. Our principal cellist was away on a business trip, so last night of all nights Walter made me fulfill my promise to him and join him at the first stand. For those of you who don’t know, the principal chair of a section sits (a) closest to the conductor, and (b) closest to the audience. Theoretically it’s because they’re so talented and experienced, and they lead the rest of the section.

So there I was last night, sitting right next to the new conductor. “This will be much better,” Walter told him. “She’s good.”

Now, as much as that boosted the ego and probably had a positive effect on how I played, it didn’t change the fact that I hadn’t been at rehearsal in two weeks, and had played only once at home (shame, shame!). And what I played in my living room had nothing to do with what we’re preparing at orchestra, and everything to do with Bach solo cello suites.

I didn’t embarrass myself, which is good. I proved to myself that I can play musically even with wrong notes. I also proved to myself that two weeks of not looking at Mendelssohn is suicide, especially in that dratted second movement with those wretched sixteenth notes and the celli solo in tenor clef. Grr.

All in all, it was a good night. We’re all feeling each other out, finding new footing, new ways to communicate, learning each other’s style. He really put us through our paces, working most of the Mendelssohn: the minuet and trio movement (which was quite beautiful once we found our rhythm as a unit), the final Allegro Con Fuoco movement (also known as the Movement That Never Ends), then back to the evil second movement. And then, joy of joys, the nice, dramatic, Don Giovanni overture. My fingers were swollen and throbbing when I got home, but that’s what you get when you don’t practice for two weeks, right?

Can’t practice today, though; I’m off to the store, then home this afernoon to work on the newsletter, then back to teach at the store tonight. (Yes, astonishing, I know; the first workshop this year that has enough students to merit not cancelling it!) So, tomorrow I will attack the looming threat of the Stretto section of the final Mendelssohn movement (actually, the entire last page), and rework the second movement yet again.

It’s a good thing that I want to practice, I think. It’s nice to feel positive about my cellistic abilities once again.