July 15, 2013
Rehearsals for the 2013 season start in just five weeks on August 24th. This year’s repertoire includes these pieces.
So far I’ve worked on the Telemann, Hovaness, and Arensky pieces.
The Telemann has two slow movements and two faster movements. I was quite pleased to discover I could sight-read the two slower movements with only a couple of rhythmic stumbles. And I can play the faster movements, just not at performance tempo. Most encouraging.
The Hovhaness is also somewhat approachable. The opening Psalm is slightly more complex rhythmically than the Telemann, but still within my grasp. The trick is to practice the more complex rhythms at a dead-slow tempo until they are ingrained in my muscle memory and then gradually speed things up to tempo. The Fugue is more challenging. I’ve only just started it this week and hope to have the first three lines ready for my lesson Thursday.
I’ve also been working on the 3rd Arensky variation. It’s mostly arpeggios, including one that wanders between bass and tenor clef. Working a note at a time, and ignoring the slurs, I was able to play the first line with relatively little effort. I’ve started adding in the slurs which introduces some fingering decisions. Several times two notes a 5th apart are slurred together. I’ve been working on placing my finger down across both involved strings so that the slur is un-broken. Smearing my finger from one string to the other while playing the slur never sounds good to my ear.
Overall I am less intimidated by the sheer amount of repertoire to learn than I was a year ago. Still, it’s daunting to look at all the pages and imagine being able to play them all. Starting with slower movement and less rhythmically complex passages helps. Last year I had one piece signed off as complete. I’ll be happy if I match that this year, and thrilled if I exceed that mark.