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

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