Wagner’s operas tell a story in more than just words. Have a watch of this — Leitmotifs as explained by the brass section from the Met Opera Orchestra in New York.
Let me tell ya, I never thought I’d ever play in a concert where Pictures at an Exhibition was the opening piece. But we did just that yesterday. We got a roaring applause once the Great Gate of Kiev was finished (and for good reason, cuz it was awesome!). The rest of the concert, though well-played, was nowhere near as grand (Danse Infernale from the Firebird was excellent and just about the best we played it: driving and energetic — but audience didn’t know we were finished and there was an odd silence in the hall until we put our instruments down and laughed a little).
The Pictures concert is in 2 days. I got a lesson with Sal Fratia earlier this week and he was so encouraging. We worked on general sections of the tuba part. Touching on volume, articulation, sustain and breathing. The Catacombae movement was discussed too. With such sustained and loud chords, I needed to figure out how to last and not have to break the slur lines. One little trick is to start the note at ‘ff’ but back off a little then crescendo towards the end before doing the real decrescendo into the next bar.
We also discussed using a larger mouthpiece for the movements other than Bydlo. I forgot to bring it (PT-72) on this trip to Toronto. So I’ll practice this weekend with it and bring it to the sound check and make a decision then.
Say this word to just about any orchestral musician (and many fans of orchestral music) and they’ll know what you’re talking about. As a tubist, say it to any brass section member and they’ll know exactly what you are talking about: *the* tuba solo from Pictures at an Exhibition, as arranged by Ravel. I’m not counting Baba-Yaga here, though it’s also a great solo too.
If I’m going to go pro, I’ve gotta get some more schooling under my belt. I’m 35 right now. I still feel young (despite my quirky right knee). I’ve wanted to go back to school for a number of years now. So why haven’t I yet? That’s a fantastic question and one I’ve had trouble finding the answer to. Nearly 6 years ago, I came into some money from my divorce. I should have gone then. But I suppose, I wasn’t “ready” yet. I am now though.