Rehearsal Notes, Oct 1
October 1 Rehearsal
What we did:
First half (with brass)
- Read Candide under-tempo.
- Worked first on section based on song "Oh, happy we!" (m. 83).
- Went back to beginning and worked slowly through first half of the piece.
- Read/worked through Tchaikovsky 4th movement, from beginning to m. 436 (it was the first time through for many of the brass players).
- Worked on Mov. 2, sections that involve brass: letter F to 107, 134 to 169, 1 before C to 65.
Second half (no brass)
- Continued work on Mov. 2, sections without (or with very little) brass: Beginning to C, 108 to 134, 66 to F, 170 to end. With this, we covered the entire second movement.
- Worked on introduction in Movement 1.
- Let me say this again.... this piece is FAST!!! We need lots of careful, slow, individual practice so that everybody has this ready to go. My score says half note = 132 and your parts say half note = 152 (remember what I said about this type of discrepancies in my Tchaik 5 tempi post?). I think that 132 is a great *minimum* tempo. Shoot for 152 in your individual practice.
- In the lyrical section ("Oh, happy we!") make sure we don't lose tempo. Lyrical doesn't mean slow.
- I will create a separate post with lyrics and videos to the songs included in the overture.
- Strings: remember how Tchaikovsky uses the whole string section as one giant section, instead of smaller separate sections. Violas: play into the sound of the cellos in bar 2!! Look at a full score and you'll understand more about what the composer is doing.
- Special dotted figures: Clarinet 2, horn 4: your dotted figure in bar 14 is important. Bring it out. Also bassoons and horns in m. 29. Make sure it doesn't sound tripletty.
- Trumpets, horns (and everybody): at letter A (and everywhere else), make sure to subdivide so that you place the 16th notes correctly.
- Tutti: for this whole symphony, always be aware of places where there are triple and duple rhythms happening simultaneously. Example: m. 24: woodwinds (duple) vs strings (triple). Make sure duple rhythms don't sound tripletty.
- Violas and 2nd violins, letter E: please practice this bow stroke so that 1) it's truly piano after the downbeat and 2) it's not too much off the string. Keep it controlled! Remember that you're accompanying the oboe. Make a note so you remember!
- Woodwinds, letter H: you're all soloists here! You have the melody. Play out and sing. Mezzoforte espressivo means forte.
- Tutti: be prepared for the piú mosso at m. 296, and be ready to pull back at the Tempo I at m. 312.
- We need extreme discipline from everybody on dynamics and articulations for this whole Symphony (and everything else we play forever and ever).
- Bassoons, bass trombone: lots of sound in m. 100, 102, 104 (tripet figure)
- M. 134, tutti: 2 bars forte, then subito fortissimo!! The difference should be very noticeable.
- M. 142, tutti: be aware of the grinding 16th notes in the winds and brass against the duples in the melody. Then, it comes to a wonderfully magical halt in m. 155. It should feel like a huge relief.
- M. 164: do not slow down! Straight tempo here. Then freeze! ...until the clarinet and bassoons come in. Brass: remember clarinets and bassoons have a pick up.
- M. 58: tutti: similar to the passage later in the movement, the grinding accompaniment (in this case triplets) comes to a magical halt.
- Introduction: strings: warm, beautiful sound. Forget the piano. Play at least mp espressivo. Be aware of the first major chord (G Major in m. 5, beat 3). Mark it! And raise your eyebrows or smile when you play it :)
- Anybody who has the main melody: don't let the long notes die. Even if there is a diminuendo, we need to sustain the sound. Savor and love this delicious melody!
- Flutes, m. 36. Diminuendo at the top!! And ritenuto. Imagine your last three notes being part of the cello and clarinet pick up to the melody. Then, lots of character in mm. 37 and 38.
- Strings, m. 108: divisi!! Round pizzicato sound. Press hard with your left hand fingers, pluck on the fingerboard.
- Woodwinds, letter I: remember that we check in on beats 2 and 4 of this section. Mark them on your part!!
- Strings: m. 171, 1st violins and violas, look at each other. 2nds and cellos: look at each other!! Smile, love the music. Make eye contact!! M. 179, lean into the section that you're giving the phrase to. At the end, clarinets lead the final note disappearing to nothing.
- Clarinets: dark sound. 16th notes on the long-ish side. Don't let it sound playful. M. 5 with pick up: blend into the string sound. Letter A is the first pianissimo of the piece. Make it special. This is soon followed by the loudest moment of the introduction: a forte in bar 24.
Rehearsal plan for next week will be on a separate post.
Thanks for reading!
Tchaikovsky liked the cello. No wonder why he gave the cellos so many great moments in his 5th Symphony. Here he is with his friend cellist Anatoliy Brandukov.