First Rehearsal

Finally, the first rehearsal is here. After all the buildup, it’s a surprisingly normal evening.    A word about the OES: We have a consistent local core of musicians, most of whom have been with the orchestra for a long time, who come to all of our rehearsals. They make up pretty much our entire woodwind […]

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Calm before…..

I land in Seattle and have two messages on my voice mail from our principal trumpet. It seems that the third trumpet’s promise to find someone meant that he would ask the principal to find someone for him.  Actually, James is remarkably good humored about it (he would rather do the work than end up […]

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It starts to get interesting

Performing a Mahler symphony is like power lifting in ice skates. The musical demands are immense- it is heavy lifting for everyone- and yet the complicated logistics of extra players, off stage instruments, soloists and so on mean that you’re constantly putting out fires as you approach the concert. I’ve covered the piece twice before, at the Cincinnati […]

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Explore the Score- Mahler Symphony no. 2, mvt I

Mahler’s Second Symphony is in five movements and was completed in 1894, but the first of those was composed and published several years earlier in 1888 (at the same time as the First Symphony) as a tone poem called “Totenfeier” or “Funeral Rites.” It wasn’t until 1893, after he had finished the First Symphony, that […]

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Explore the Score: Mahler 2, Movement II- Relief, Repose and Reflection

After the highly-charged, dramatic and ultimately tragic arc of the first movement, it is natural that one would need some time to recover. After all, Mahler waited five years after completing Totenfeier before continuing on to the second movement. As it turns out, Mahler anticipated the audience’s exhaustion and specified that the conductor should wait […]

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My Mahler Story Begins

One of the interesting aspects of this particular project is that for most of the Pendleton, Oregon audience, Mahler is completely unknown music. It’s a rare privilege for a conductor to be able to introduce this music, now so widely loved and accepted, to a new audience. Already, I’ve experienced some of the most fascinating […]

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The Mahler Story Begins

One thread I will be exploring on this blog involves an upcoming performance of Gustav Mahler’s 2nd Symphony with the Oregon East Symphony and Chorale in Pendleton, Oregon. The OES, 200 miles from Portland, 260 miles from Seattle and 300 miles from Boise has long been nicknamed “The Most Remotely Situated Full Symphony Orchestra on […]

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