Last Wednesday evening was the first orchestra rehearsal of the season, and it was fabulous. Despite our principal being absent; despite sight-reading challenging music I’d never heard before; despite being up past when I usually pass out.
The first concert of the season will take place on Saturday November 26th at 7 30 pm, at Valois United church, and this is the programme:
Beethoven – Prometheus Overture
Holst â€“ St. Paulâ€™s Suite
Sibelius â€“ Valse Triste
Brahms â€“ Serenade No 1
I’ve previously played the Beethoven and Sibelus. I thought I didn’t know the Holst till I played through it, and of course I know it; it’s an old CBC standard, nice and stompy folksongy stuff. It was the Brahms that tripped me up. I don’t know it, and it’s what we began with. It was not easy: it was a bit demoralizing as a starter to the first rehearsal of the year, and it’s going to take a lot of work.
This weekend the boy and I started our cello lessons again. It’s been about two months since I played seriously, so we took it nice and easy and played the Minuet I’d done for last winter’s recital, which went surprisingly well, then poked at the Dvorak Humoresque that I’d been working on in the spring, and finally did a bit of etude work. Then we started La Cinquantaine, which has a lovely elegant kind of controlled flick up to the A harmonic on the A string that I love to do.
The big news in private lessons, though, is that the boy is starting to use his big bow part-time, and has officially begun the first Suzuki book. We are going to work on French Folk Song, something he recognises because it’s my default test piece on any new cello I try, and Twinkle. So he has officially left pre-Twinkling behind! (And if I don’t get a move on, he’ll pass me in Suzuki, too. I know I play tonnes of other stuff and only dip occasionally into the Suzuki books, but if he passes me it will feel very odd indeed. But I’m only two pieces away from book four, so it’s very doable!) He has a new reply for his teacher when she asks him if he thinks he can do something she sets for him: “I don’t know if I can do that… but I’ll try!”
We had our first group lesson yesterday afternoon as well, and there are seventeen students with my teacher’s home studio this year, which is going to make for interesting floor plan dynamics come dress rehearsal time. I love the first group lesson of the season, because we sight-read the proposed group pieces for the recital, and anything goes bowing- and fingering-wise. There were some nice pieces — Monteverdi bits, an extract from SchÃ¼tz’s Christmas Oratorio, a cello quartet arrangement of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy (which will please the Owlet no end, as she has decided Beethoven’s ninth is the perfect piece of music to relax ad pass out to), and a couple of other things that escape me at the moment. Nothing too finger-trippy if I’m on first cello, and some very pleasant harmonies indeed. The boy did well in following his teacher’s directions on the fly in his group lesson, too, in particular managing to pull off a full descending one-octave D major scale without ever having done it before. Mind you, then he decided he’d had enough and asked to go sit with me, and as he’d followed directions on three or four other fun things that were new to him his teacher was fine with that.
I have really, really missed my cello. Slipping back into it and seeing that I can pick up just about where I left off with only a few rough spots is a huge relief to me. I love making music with other people, and even with the challenges of a difficult commute, not much time to practice, leaving Owlet behind with HRH, and having to make sure we have enough bottles of expressed milk on hand, the good that it does me outweighs the stress.