Night on Bald Mountain

We’ve picked the final piece for the Spring concert for Highlands Chamber Orchestra — it’s going to be Night on Bald Mountain.  I wanted an epic show closer to get the audience on its feet.  I was pursuing a piano concerto kind of piece but there’s not enough time to prepare one with the soloist I was trying to recruit.  The HCO’s board and I bantied around a few ideas …. Die Meistersinger was a possibility.  But I got a recommendation from a string player to do Bald Mountain.  How could I say no?  🙂

chernabogNoBM has a little special place in my heart.  I played it ages ago with the Ottawa Youth Orchestra.  It was so much fun.  I first heard it on my CD of Mussorgsky’s Picture at an Exhibition with the Montreal Symphony and Dutoit so I was really happy to have a chance to play it.  And now I get to experience from the front of the orchestra.

To tell you the truth, I had looked quickly at NoBM because of it being a convenient one-movement symphonic poem with full orchestration (and well-known from Disney’s Fantasia) and thought the string parts were murder.  I even thought the piece might be too bang-crash-boom for a good performance.  i.e. it can very easily be overblown and plain old loud.  But I’ve quickly reconsidered that point of view.  Like with Sorcerer’s Apprentice last Spring, we have a few months to really perfect this and do really well with it.  Yeah, it’s dramatic, but I think we can invoke a demonic feeling while still being musical about it (conducting has really changed my view on dynamics and balance).  This is going to be a great learning and growing piece for the orchestra and for me.  I can’t wait to dig into our first reading this Friday.

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