Variation On A Theme

The last paragraph of Kelly’s post last week is EXACTLY what I keep thinking about as the concert date draws closer and closer. I can only hope to trek across the stage and arrive at the piano unscathed…I know that once I sit down on the bench, I will be okay. Like Kelly, I can cover a mistake in my playing, but tripping and falling down in front of an audience would be mortifying.

I’ll try not to think about it.

Wasn’t it only yesterday when the VYO sight-read the Ravel for the first time? Actually, this was over a month ago! In Sunday’s rehearsal, we ran through the piece without stopping for the first time. It was very exciting for me. It felt like a mini-concert – there were even a few people sitting in chairs in the back of the hall! The orchestra’s part is challenging, both individually, and then put together. I will say this again: I am so fortunate that VYO plays this piece so well!

It is unbelievable that our first concert is only 3 days away. From a personal perspective, the next five days mark the culmination of a project that I have worked on (with a break here and there) for over a year. This concert is the entire reason I learned the Ravel. It is incredible that this entire experience will be over in less than a week.

–Samantha Angstman

Twelve More Days…

I’m already nervous.

“Don’t listen to the violins,” asserted Mr. Peters at last Sunday’s VYO rehearsal, “It will slow you down.”

I tried my hardest to drown them out, but it’s pretty impossible to ignore thirty violinists playing only a foot away from you. There are twelve days until I will be standing on the Flynn MainStage (not that I’m counting or anything…), but it feels like I am running out of time to make any improvements on my piece. Everything I play perfectly at the concert should already be perfect, right?

And honestly, I am less worried about something going wrong musically than I  am about tripping over my own feet. I can picture myself toppling over in my pretty silver shoes, flute in hand, and taking out half the second violin section… Missing an accidental is a mistake I can deal with. Taking a spill in front of all those people — my worst nightmare.

-Kelly Herrmann -Photo: Stina Plant

The Buzz on Ravel

Sunday’s rehearsal was very focused.

As I sat in the performance hall eating my lunch, I listened to the first two movements of the Borodin and Chabrier’s Joyeuse marche. The only distraction came in the form of a wasp buzzing around the clarinets, but Mr. Peters quickly captured it and let it outside. After this wasp incident, the orchestra quickly regained their focus and continued playing.

I have been working on the Ravel Piano Concerto for a while now. It is really coming together, which is a relief because the orchestra part is pretty difficult. I am grateful to have an orchestra learn the music so quickly and play it so well!

There is a huge difference in my playing from the front of the stage than from the back of the group, where I usually play. The sound I hear from the orchestra when I am situated in front of them is so much richer. Also, the ability to glance up at Mr. Peters to catch the tempo is really convenient.

The VYO really understands the “jazzy” elements of the Ravel, especially the syncopated rhythms in the fast sections. That syncopation and the bluesy character of the slower sections, are the reasons I love playing this piece – as a jazz musician, I think it is awesome that Ravel incorporated the jazz style of playing into some of his compositions. Hearing the VYO play this piece so well three whole weeks away from the concert…I cannot wait to hear how “together” it will sound next week!

-Sammy Angstman      -Photo: Stina Plant