Date of Rehearsal: 02/19/15
Repertoire rehearsed: Waltz no. 4 & 5
We had a sectional rehearsal during the first half, where we separated winds/brass and strings so each group can work on our own unique issues and are able to address more technical issues in more depths.
In both sectional and tutti rehearsals, all of us concentrated on just two of the waltzes (actually, strings didn't get to the 5th waltz in our sectional, but we intended to anyway). I think concentrating on a small section is very helpful. We can really solve (or at least begin to) many of the issues within the section, and by learning how to tackle a specific issue, gives you a tool to tackle another issue, and every challenge we will face from then on should feel a little bit easier each time.
And I started from the most difficult of the waltzes. No. 4 has the biggest contrast both in tempi and characters, and the first half (the slower section) also requires us to be flexible with timing, which is very difficult to coordinate between the 35 of us. No. 5 includes an intro (Eingang) that is a bit schizophrenic in character, alternating between piano and forte every two measures, and the second half of the waltz is the loudest of all, and requires us to be dramatic and exciting, while still remaining graceful at the same time.
We also listened to a recording of it together, and discussed different things that we discovered just by listening to it. we also talked about push and pull of the tempo that is prevalent throughout this piece, and briefly discussed "why", which I think is a very important question to ask. I think you all know the general idea why such things need to happen in music, but I would like each of you to think about "why" in each specific places where we take certain liberties with the tempo. Why there at that particular spot? Why do we do what we do at that spot? What would that do to the music? What is the effect? What is the image?
Strings, please practice your bowings. It is so important that we get our bowings down for two big reasons: 1) a sense of unity. When everybody does the same choreographed movements, we are tighter together, and each of you should find a stronger sense of duty and pride for your own section, when you are so together, down to your physical movements and eventually breath.
2) the correct articulation and sound. I design the bowings, not based on looks, but so that you are more likely to use the right amount of bow, and play at the right part of the bow, to get the maximum effect for each passages. Oftentimes, changing the bowings can make ALL the difference: from impossible to play to "Oh, this is easy", and vise versa, if you have the "wrong" bowings.
Next week, we will work on the intro and the outro (Coda II)!! Please be ready to play those sections for this coming rehearsal!