We’re on our break. Not many surprises so far, and most of the surprises are for the good. B5 is an especially hard piece to rehearse on the day of a concert, because it is very hard to “mark” it at all, especially for the strings- you often really have to go all out or it doesn’t gell. I tried to exhude chilled feelings whenever I could to encourage everyone to find places they could take it easy, but I’m not sure I was successful. Given the modern economics of British orchestras, rehearsals on the day are a neccessary evil, and we just have to be tough and in shape enough to cope with them.
The newcomers all sound good. I’ve written recently about trombone sections and when to use or not use alto trombone. B5 is a no brainer for alto because of the high f (the highest note for trombone in a symphony, I’m told), but the rest of the section is a little trickier to organize these days. Our guys sound great, but a modern tenor is so much heavier and beefier than even a modern alto that balance within the section is a challenge- there’s a tendency for the two voices not to blend and connect in the homophonic writing.
Next up is Genoveva, which is the main reason I don’t want to have to call in a sub. Every conductor knows B5 and Sibelius Vn Con, but not many want to sight read an odd bit of Schumann. However, just talked to Sue and she’s fine, so onward and upward. KW