HelenEdith's Blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘dvorak’

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 08, 2008 – Full Orchestra

Posted by HelenEdith on August 8, 2008

The playing part of Marlowe Music Week came to an end this evening with a Full Orchestra session in our usual church hall, although many people are going to dinner next Sunday to round off the week. I’m awkward to feed, and I’m ducking out of that. I also didn’t make it to “Party Pieces” yesterday evening. I’d been out every evening since last Sunday, and decided that I needed an evening in.

This evening’s orchestral session started off with Schubert’s “Manfred” Overture, and then continued with Benjamin Britten’s Matinées musicales, after Rossini. I’d never seen the music to either of these pieces before, and wouldn’t mind having another go at them another time, but that isn’t really the point of Marlowe Music Week. We don’t rehearse pieces and perfect them: we take the music out of the library, play it for our own enjoyment, and then move on to the next piece.

We did the first movement of Dvorak’s 6th Symphony before the refreshment break, and then played the other three movements after stopping for tea, coffee or squash. The Scherzo was conducted by Nick (Malcolm’s and Sheila’s son) in one. Margaret (my fellow bassoonist) was a bit sceptical about whether we’d manage to read it through in one, but we did pretty well and only had to stop a couple of times to regroup.

As this was the last occasion when we would all gather, after the music was over for the evening, we had a speech from Jim Kelly, who thanked Malcolm and Sheila for their efforts in putting Marlowe Music Week together. He commented that we did it for £10 each, but if this week was put on by an organisation, it would probably cost over £200 each, and if it was put on by the Government, the cost would probably be nearer to £400 each! We did have to smile at the list of personnel that Jim said would be required, but he made the very good point that Malcolm and Sheila work very hard to pull the week together, and that we get unbelievable value.

Malcolm and Sheila were presented with theatre tokens and Sheila also received a large bunch of flowers. Gerry and Mary, who hosted a BBQ, received a bottle; and Arthur, the churchwarden received a small wrapped gift. Joyce, who hosted a lunch and “Party Pieces” usually receives a token of our thanks at her “Party Pieces” evening.

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Entry for August 04, 2008 – Wind Chamber Music

Posted by HelenEdith on August 4, 2008

This evening, ten wind players assembled at Gerry’s and Mary’s place. The assembled company’s instruments were two flutes, two french horns, two bassoons, one oboe and three clarinets. However, one of the clarinets was a C clarinet so that its owner could play oboe parts, making us a standard dectet.

We started the evening off with an arrangement of “La Calinda” by Delius, which was a very pleasant start to the evening. In the course of the evening, we progressed on to Dvorak, and we finished off with Gounod’s “Petite Symphonie”, which generally gets an airing at some point during Marlowe Music Week.

Margaret and I shared out first and second bassoon parts between us, although I got first if it had a significant amount of tenor clef on it because Margaret says that I sight-read tenor clef better than she does. Actually, I sight-read it so well this evening that I played something in tenor clef which was actually written in bass clef. It sounded horrible and we had to stop and go back so I could play it from its proper clef!

We played continuously for two hours and then enjoyed the refreshments which Gerry and Mary provided, before going our separate ways. Most of us will be seeing one another again in the morning for a light orchestra session which is a rehearsal for the Coffee Morning to follow on Wednesday morning.

I must go to bed at a sensible time tonight, as I’ve got to get up in the morning for that! I’ve been late to bed the last two nights and my body clock is somewhere out in the Atlantic. Nytol to the rescue…

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Entry for August 07, 2007 – Light music rehearsal and band rehearsal

Posted by HelenEdith on August 7, 2007

Today’s Marlowe Music Week activity was a rehearsal of the light music to be performed tomorrow at the coffee morning where we have our one and only paying audience for the week. We ran through the whole programme and ironed out a few bumps and wrinkles.

Most of the musicians then headed off for lunch with one of the cellists at her place, but I returned home, where I discovered that Stephen had gone down to his Mum’s, so I was home alone.

I made myself some lunch and sat down with a Greater Than Killer Sudoku (here’s the latest one: http://www.killersudokuonline.com/#gtkweekly) and it didn’t seem long before Stephen was home again. As this week is a holiday, if I spend the afternoons chilling out with a Killer Sudoku, then so be it.

As the Marlowe Activity this evening didn’t require bassoons, I put in an appearance at the Beckenham Concert Band’s rehearsal. We spent the evening working on Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances and Falla’s Ritual Fire Dance. After mostly playing things straight through with the orchestra earlier in the day, it was interesting to sit down with the band and really dissect some quite challenging music.

I took back the purple band jacket I wore on the bandstand in Greenwich Park the other weekend. The band’s next outing is in Surrey and I’m undecided about whether to put my hand up for it. I’ve been on that particular gig for the past two years, and as I’m not a “regular” in the band, I don’t feel that I have to do it if I don’t want to this year. By taking the jacket back, I don’t have it hanging up at home acting as an influence making me do that gig (and travelling there!) but if I change my mind and decide nearer the time that I want to go, the wardrobe department will be happy to lend it to me again. Meanwhile they’re just as happy to have it hanging up in the band’s wardrobe than at my house.

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Entry for August 05, 2007 – Marlowe Music Week has begun!

Posted by HelenEdith on August 5, 2007

This evening, we got Marlowe Music Week off to a flying start with chamber music at the Youngs’ place.

We started out with a string group upstairs and a mixed string, wind and piano group downstairs, which is where I was playing. Our double bass player (who is also a jolly good clarinettist) had heard an arrangement of Dvorak’s Serenade for Strings in E major, Op.22 arranged for piano, two violins, viola, double bass, clarinet, horn and bassoon and he’d tracked down the sheet music, which took a lot of effort. Apparently Dvorak started writing this serenade for this instrumentation, but the piece in this form was lost, so the arranger was trying to recreate it.

I found the bassoon part a bit tricky as it had a lot of very low notes. They are probably easier to play on the bottom string of a cello than on a bassoon, where they require a lot of dexterity with the left thumb!

Anyway, we played all the way through the piece and it sounded like Dvorak’s Serenade, although our rendition was not entirely according to the printed music on our stands!

Then we stopped for some cool drinks and sat out in the garden in a lovely summer’s evening and chatted while we took on liquid.

We went back inside and reformed into a different groups with all the string players gathering downstairs and a wind quintet retiring to the upstairs back room, where we played Gordon Jacob, an arrangement for wind quintet of a Mozart string quartet, and a short fun piece where Beethoven’s 5th had been given the Bosa Nova treatment!

It was an enjoyable start to our week of music making.

The picture isn’t related to music: it’s Stephen holding Ace the owl earlier in the day at Sedlescombe.

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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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