Friday, February 16, 2007

symphonies ahoy

It must be the Miami Beach Boat Show this weekend, because there is definitely a nautical vibe in the air around here. These enormous yachts have been filling the streets and parking lots, as well as the waterways, and this morning I saw a guy walking around in his life jacket. Maybe he just wanted an extra layer, since it's been cold by Florida standards - mid-50s this morning.

We haven't launched into any sea chanties yet at the symphony, but we have been lining up big symphonic warhorses, sort of like those behemoth yachts on the intracoastal waterway. MTT is around, and we've had some conducting workshops with young conductors. They take turns on the podium to read through big standard repertoire pieces like Brahms 1st, Beethoven 3rd, and Tchaikovsky's 5th, with coaching and advice from MTT. The conductors taking part this week are all very talented: Philip Mann, Jonathan Yates, NWS conducting fellow Steven Jarvi, and Daniel Stewart, a member of our viola section.

Playing the first movement of Tchaik 5 yesterday, MTT asked us to sound more like pirates, making all those 6/8 rhythms more "swashbuckling". It's actually been a lot of fun, playing through all these big pillars of symphonic literature, and though there's not the pressure of actually performing them, MTT gets into a lot of interesting details and ideas. And the young conductors get the orchestra on its best behavior, since MTT is walking around and looking over all of our shoulders.

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