In Which There Is Hope For Cello

I made the decision to get to every rehearsal between now and the upcoming concert (April 14, gentle readers) to preserve my sanity and help shore up my self-esteem in matters musical. I’m still fumbling through lots of the Beethoven, but I feel a lot better about it after having a conversation with some of the section and our conductor. Apparently the cello section of the youth orchestra he also conducts does the fifth symphony as sectional work every year to keep it sharp, otherwise it would fall apart when they eventually get to programming it. I find that incredibly reassuring. We’re coming to it cold and chipping away at it in a couple of months. It also helped a great deal to have the conductor look at me and say that we were actually in a pretty good place, all things considered.

For some reason, the Wagner falls more easily under my fingers than the Beethoven, and I never thought I’d say that. I’m fine in the first and final movements of the symphony, but the middle two are just gah. My fingers keep tangling up. Sometimes I think Beethoven is the sole reason cellists should memorize scales. I’ve reminded myself that in my first years with the orchestra I would only play the first note in a sequence of four eighth or sixteenth notes in fast passage work, and I’m allowing myself to default to that on the fly. It helps a bit.

I got an hour to practice on my own this weekend, while HRH took the kids and… did something with them, possibly watched a movie. No idea. It was just me upstairs with my cello, and a lot of frustrating sticky notes and pencil scribblings on my music, sounding pretty awful. But I was marginally better at rehearsal, so it obviously did some good.

In non-orchestra material, I’m working on Allegro Moderato, the last piece in the third Suzuki book, and it’s fine… all except bars 30 and 31. I just can’t seem to internalize the modulation so that I have the note firmly in my head before I shift, and because I don’t know what the note is supposed to sound like I’m not secure in my shift and I miss the intonation by almost a semitone. I can play the notes separately in separate bows in first position, but as soon as I move to slurred notes and playing in position (I’m using the alternate fingerings), it all goes out the window. Gnarr. I have no idea if I’m playing a solo in the June recital or not, but if I am this is it.

Our conductor gave us a preview of what the July concert will be like. It’s to have a northern theme, with the Ruslan and Lyudmila overture (nooooo!), the Peer Gynt suite, and other things I missed because I was too busy having a conniption at the R & L overture part. I really enjoy playing the Peer Gynt suite, though.

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