Sunday, January 25, 2009

Winter/Spring Orchestra Season music

Community orchestra rehearsals begin next week. We plan to play Rossini's Overture to the Barber of Seville, Haydn's Symphony No. 101, the Clock, and Mozart's Symphony No. 28. I am nowhere near prepared, in terms of practicing, but have, at least, been listening to YouTube versions. I am posting them here for easy reference by me, and, as always, for anyone else who is interested:

Rossini, Overture from the Barber of Seville (this is the most challenging, in E major and E minor, and quite fast. There are multiple versions of this online, including a guitar orchestra version, and several vocal chorus versions.):

Haydn's Symphony No. 101, The Clock. (This one seems more do-able.)

First movement, Adagio/Allegro

Second movement, Andante

Third movement, Minuetto/Allegro

Fourth movement, Finale, Spirituoso

Mozart, Symphony No. 28. This is the first movement, Allegro Spiritoso. There are three other movements, Andante, Menuetto, and Presto, but I haven't found them on YouTube yet.

And a version to discourage an adult cellist entirely--or give hope! A seven-year-old cellist plays this in a quartet--his family, I think.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Air and Simple Gifts

A beautiful interlude in an outstanding day.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hope and Inspiration

The dramatic survival of 155 passengers and crew after their plane crash-landed in the Hudson River seems to have filled the nation with hope, a nation already jubilant over the upcoming inauguration of Barack Obama.

I look at these amazing photos of people standing calmly (well, probably not really calmly) on the wings of the momentarily floating airplane, ice cold water rushing around their feet, as the ferry boats race toward them, and it just fills my heart with joy and wonder at it all.

Another splendid image that brought tears to my eyes, though for an entirely different reason, was a tape, played on television, of Yo-Yo Ma in 1961, at the age of 7, playing the cello with his sister for then-president John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie. Ma went on to play for five sitting presidents and will, of course, be playing at Obama's inauguration on Tuesday, which I am looking forward to: both the inauguration and the music, a work composed for the occasion called "Air and Simple Gifts." ("Simple Gifts" is one of my favorite melodies.)

I was talking to a poet yesterday, who was equally excited about the inaugural poet, Elizabeth Alexander. I asked her if she had any thoughts about poetry and the present dismal state of the economy, expecting she might say something about the healing value of poetry and the arts.

She talked about Obama as the embodiment of the merger of poetry and politics, the importance of eloquence, of words, of verbal expression as a means of inspiring and leading, the lasting impacts of people like Abraham Lincoln, Kennedy, and Obama, that words are not "just words," but have the ability to inspire and to find solutions, not merely to heal, though that is valuable too.

I have worked as an urban and environmental planner and have a degree in international relations and have some idea of the problems we are up against, but it is as a lover of words, music, and art, that I am feeling hopeful, and inspired, today.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Cello Resolutions

Happy New Year to all!

In a hopeful mood, I plan to really improve my cello-playing this year! (and lose weight, prosper during the recession, and, finally, declutter.)

Here are a few thoughts on the cello resolutions:

1. Practice more, and more consistently. Let's say at least five days a week, at least an hour. And focus on the things my teacher [repeatedly] brings up in lessons (I sometimes forget to even look at the notes I make during lessons.) Consistent practice has been a problem for me because my work is so deadline-oriented, and not restricted to regular "office hours," so it often fills the day, and the night, and the early-morning hours. But, there are ways to find the time.

2. Focus on intonation. There's no point in playing the cello if it is not in tune. For this, I am going back to scales, etudes, and easy pieces and duets, playing with a tuner, with recordings, and with others.

3. Prioritize music for ensembles: cello duets, orchestra, fiddling groups, flute choir. These all used to come after Suzuki music, but I have put Suzuki on hold for the time being. I love playing with others, but I also want others to enjoy playing with me! I haven't entirely ditched Suzuki (though I am not memorizing it, as I used to), but there is also much to learn from the ensemble music. And, there is only so much I can do at one time.

4. Keep working on the Messiah throughout the year so I can play it brilliantly, or at least competently, next year.

Have a warm and happy, healthy and prosperous, and fulfilling and creative 2009!