Thursday, February 6, 2014

Scheherazade at Benaroya

It's currently looking like there will be a quarter-sized hole on the blog. Unfortunately, Christmas and New Year's got caught up in that because I haven't had a chance to upload pictures yet. But at some point I'll get that done and go back and add those posts.

I should probably be studying right now, but I needed to do some listening for clarinet stuff and am sitting and doing that. In a minute I'll be listening to Ponchielli's Il Convegno, which I'll be playing with the Northwest Clarinet Choir in about a month, but right now I'm listening to the recording of our second Benaroya Hall concert.

Back in mid-January we had our second and final Benaroya Hall concert for this season (I'm hoping we'll do some concerts there again next season). I got a sitter for the kids so that Ryan could come and we could go out for drinks/dinner afterward. I also had a lot of friends and acquaintances come to this concert, so that was a lot of fun (and a bit nerve-wracking) to know that people I knew were in the audience. We didn't sell quite as many tickets this time around, but still sold the entire floor of the hall - you had to look really hard to find an empty seat.

This was a big concert for me because we were playing Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, which has a big second clarinet solo. Plus we were playing Strauss' One Thousand and One Nights, which has a really interesting second clarinet part. There's a whole section where the 2nd is the only person in the orchestra playing some arpeggiated bits under everything. Of course that section is also the part where you have to transpose from A to C. Fun, fun. It's actually a super-fun part to play, just a bit more stressful when that minor third transposition isn't something you do all that often (this is the first time I've ever had to do it in all my years of playing). We also played Ravel's Sheherazade, which had a couple of exposed bits for the clarinets. So it was the kind of concert where if you screw up people are going to know it. I never used to get nervous for concerts, but since I'm not practicing nearly as much these days I've found that I'm more likely to end up nervous about performances. I was definitely nervous for this concert.

Anyway, the concert went really well. I was a bit disappointed with myself for not spacing some things quite right in the Rimsky-Korsakov, which means that you get the sense that I tied a couple repeated notes together, even though I didn't. But I was mostly worrying about my breath during that whole passage (if you breathe in the wrong spot it's very noticeable and breathing often gets a bit off when you're nervous) and that turned out well, plus my tone sounded pretty good and intonation was good as well (thanks to my teacher lending me an extra A clarinet he has - mine has some serious intonation issues these days and really just needs to be replaced). But overall the orchestra did a stellar job and the audience enjoyed it. I'm glad we had our October concert at Benaroya as well because everyone in the orchestra seemed much more at ease with the venue this time around. It would be awesome if we could do at least a couple concerts there every year, but for this year we're done at Benaroya and will be back at UW for our last two concerts.


Andrea said...

How fun! Congrats on a successful concert. I never did get the hang of transposing *sigh* which is too bad. That is great you are keeping your skills up, and those are hard pieces.

Erin said...

Thanks, Andrea! Sometimes in my lessons my teacher has me play a short piece, then transpose as though going Bb to A, A to Bb, Bb to C, and A to C. I think that's all of them. I'm usually really horrible at that exercise except for the Bb to C transposition. I do okay Bb to A, but it's all downhill from there.