Next week we're playing Antonín Dvořák Symphony 8! We haven't played a symphony in months, I've been feeling like I'm in a permanent opera/ballet orchestra so it's really nice to get back into symphonic mode. I love playing in the pit, but we've been repeating the same repertoire and there aren't any particularly interesting horn parts in most of the works we've done. (a.k.a. I'm sick of off beats!!) We had sectionals tonight with the winds, and the strings had a sectional this afternoon, which I think was highly beneficial for everyone. As much as I love sitting in rehearsal and listening to what essentially becomes a string sectional... I'm glad each section is taking care of business on our own this time.
The conductor we have for this concert is named Mihnea Ignat. He's from Romania, works in Spain, and his English is incredibly good. I'm happy to report he is one of the most demanding conductors we have had so far. We had a three hour sectional, and the time flew by because he kept us engaged and focused with specific goals and expectations. His sense of phrasing and dynamics was so refreshing after a slew of conductors who seem to have forgotten they can do more than keep time. I'm actually looking forward to this week of rehearsal with him, he is very straightforward and incredibly musical. He was trying to explain a certain phrasing to the woodwinds during our sectional, and said he doesn't normally believe in getting philosophical during rehearsal because it's distracting and less effective, but to think of the phrase as a sad lament. My experience has been that a lot of conductors love getting philosophical, and to have one say aloud that he didn't think it was usually worth much was really satisfying. I wish this conductor had been invited here earlier in the season, I would have loved to work with him on Dvorak 9!
We're also having a guest soloist for this concert, I'm unfortunately not playing on the piece with him but I'm excited to watch the rehearsal! Ning Feng is supposedly the "Chinese Paganini"; he's playing Paganini with us so I'm very much looking forward to hearing him play. I was never much of a violin fan until the last year or two, and after working with a few exceptional soloists here I've really come around to the beauty of a great violinist.
In other news, I found this girl on Facebook today and I love everything about her performance:
Presentation is everything!
(Diana Damrau is my actual favorite Queen of the Night)