Air – Thirteen Bars Worth

There are only two weeks left until the VYO spring concert!

When we first opened up our folders to learn the spring program, we couldn’t wait to get started on Capriccio Espagnol. As soon as Mr. Massey had us play Rimsky-Korsakov, the wind and brass section perked up and the strings played more energetically than ever. This may not be serious and thick like anything Wagner wrote, but it sure is fun.  Alison Gagne’s clarinet solos soar over the bouncing cellos while the violins sing a sweet countermelody. Music like this is so refreshing for all of us, as we are swamped with school and life stresses and are desperate to simply play music. However, this piece merely holds a perceived lightness. It sounds light and happy, but each section struggles with difficulties that may not appear within the printed score. It’s upsetting not to play it perfectly! And so, we work.

Within the various movements, a variety of elements must happen. In the Alborada, dynamic contrast is crucial, especially in the solo sections. The Variazioni features English Horn, which Jon Lee plays stunningly. When I hear Jon’s solos, I think of a warm family moment. The flute has a solo as well. When I play it, I think of how much air I wish my lungs would hold. (Thankfully, thirteen long and painful bars of chromatic scales have become much simpler, thanks to Julianna Matthews and our trade-off technique.) In the movements that follow, there are numerous violin solos which are executed with light alertness. Capriccio Espagnol ends with a meaty A major chord which I know the audience will love.

The two Wagner pieces and the Delius are quite different that the Capriccio. The beauty of Prelude and Love Death could not possibly be described with words (at least not with mine), but each of us seems to have an individual emotional reaction to playing it. During sectionals a couple of weeks ago, Tim Woos stated that Wagner is the best composer that ever lived. I was unsure that I agreed at the time, but the more I play this piece the more I start to feel the same way as Tim does. Brigg Fair has also grown on me. This piece is right down Mr. Massey’s alley, especially since he shares cultural similarities with the composer – I find this inspiring! Evelyn Reed and Bronwen Hudson begin this piece with pastoral dreaminess and as the orchestration begins to build, Owen Tatum plays the main theme with perfect tone. We have spent hours, since February, assembling this piece. It poses an interesting challenge in that it contains so many musical changes, both huge and subtle; we need to stay keenly aware absolutely all of the time. And, since February, we’ve come a long way with it.

I am so proud of the members of the Vermont Youth Orchestra. We have all improved exponentially as soloists and as ensemble players. The personal preparation that we take on in preparing for our performances is immensely impressive, and it makes rehearsals that much more rewarding. This feeling of
satisfaction has made my senior year enjoyable, which is something that many of my school friends are unable to say. We still have room for much improvement, but I know that we will not disappoint. The orchestra sounds great—I cannot wait to perform. May 16, here we come!

Emily Wiggett, flute

Emily is a senior at Lakes Region Union High School in Barton, VT. She is currently the principal flutist for the VYO. Next fall, Emily will attend the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, NY, where she will pursue a double major in flute performance and music education.  (Photo: Stina Booth)

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