HelenEdith's Blog

The minutiae of my life, plus website updates and book reviews

Posts Tagged ‘beethoven’

Entry for October 22, 2008 – “Extended” Marlowe orchestra evening

Posted by HelenEdith on October 22, 2008

This evening was the occasional meeting of the extended Marlowe Ensemble. We tackle larger works than are possible on a weekly basis, when the orchestra is more of a chamber orchestra.

This evening, we started with the Merry Wives of Windsor Overture to the Opera by Otto Nicolai.

We then progressed on to the first of two Fifth symphonies: this one being the Beethoven one. Of course, I’ve heard it plenty of times, but I’d never played it before. I got taken by surprised on a solo bassoon entry and came in a bar late, and it was deemed to be an important enough bit that we went back so that I could have another go at it.

After our refreshment break, we moved on to Dvorak’s fifth symphony. We didn’t get all the way through, stopping after the third movement. That movement is a navigational nightmare. It’s got a first-time set of bars which don’t lead up to a repeat, but jump over a second-time bar which is actually the fine. Then you play the trio portion of the movement, after which you jump back to the sign near the beginning of the movement, playing through and this time jumping over the first-time bars and going to the fine. We did not get it right in one go!

However, the aim of the evening isn’t to work these pieces up for performance, it’s simply to get them down off the shelf and read through them for our own pleasure, and that aim was certainly fulfilled this evening.

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Entry for August 06, 2007 – Wind Chamber Music

Posted by HelenEdith on August 6, 2007

This evening we had a group of nine wind players: two flautists, one oboist, two clarinettists, two bassoonists and two french horn players.

We actually played octets most of the evening and the two flautists doubled on the same part.

Donizetti was first up. He was a bit weird, and was followed by a modern French composer whose music was more than a bit weird. We struggled to the end of the piece, missing out the odd repeat here and there, and actually enjoying parts of it!

Then out came the Mozart Serenade in C minor for two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons and two horns. It comes out about this time most years, and although I don’t generally play it in between, I have got to know it. Margaret elected to play first bassoon, and I went along with that. She said afterwards if she’d remembered what was in the Finale she might have given the first part to me to play. 🙂 I think Margaret’s actually in better practice than I am, though, so I didn’t remind her about the Finale when she chose to play first. It’s nice to share the work out.

After that it was the turn of Beethoven, and then we finished up with the Overture to the Marriage of Figaro arranged for wind octet and went and enjoyed the refreshments laid on by the Brocklebanks, whose front room we had been occupying.

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Entry for June 20, 2007 – Music

Posted by HelenEdith on June 20, 2007

This evening I went to the occasional West Lodge Orchestra, which meets every six weeks or so. I’d home-worked today, and managed to be late getting there. It’s strange how I can get there on time when I come all the way from Basildon and have to contend with the M25, but end up late when I’m only coming from just around the corner!

We warmed up on Rossini’s overture “Il Signor Bruschino”, which I’d never heard before. Then we moved on to Dvorak’s 5th Symphony, but we were playing off old parts which described it as the 3rd Symphony. I don’t recall having heard that before, either. It took me the whole of the first half of the session to get anywhere near warmed up. My recent lack of practice is starting to tell rather badly.

After the mid-evening break, we finished off the Dvorak 5th Symphony. I had the company of Terry, playing his bass clarinet, in lieu of another bassoonist. Terry is great: he can read bass clef on his bass clarinet. We did swap parts mid-way through the Dvorak, though, as there was a bit he reckoned he’d never play it on his bass clarinet. I found that I couldn’t play it on my bassoon either. (Without taking it home to study.)

We finished the evening off with Mendelssohn’s “Fingal’s Cave” overture, which was a very pleasant way to finish up.

In the car on the way home, I was listening to ClassicFM as I often do, and they played a really interesting piece which came about because Michael Collins and Mikhail Pletnev thought that it might be possible to play Beethoven’s Violin Concerto on the clarinet and they went ahead and did it! It was so interesting that I sat on the driveway listening to it and when I eventually came inside, we switched the TV over to ClassicFM to hear the rest of it.

It’s funny how I quite approved of a piece of violin repertoire being filched for the clarinet, and I don’t mind filching the odd bit of cello repertoire for the bassoon, but I don’t like it very much when string players filch our wind repertoire. 🙂

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