Harlequin Brass Ensemble
University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield HD1 3DH.
Sunday 2nd June 2013
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End if term and not a day too soon. I am thinking of adding podcasts to the site. Easy to listen to on iTunes or any podcast downloader, What do you all think?
Yesterday was the final NSWO concert of the season at Nottingham University. The group worked really hard and the considerable audience appreciated the evening's entertainment, giving the orchestra a rousing ovation at the end.
For me, I thought the group worked well and they are showing experience and maturity in places. I would have liked to get more pp playing and genuine dynamics in the range below mf. I think there are still one or two players who are a little recreational about these concerts. I need to convince groups that it is even more rewarding to create classic moments of peace.
Today is my son's graduation in Manchester so I am at home getting ready to go.
Yesterday the group for the tour to Austria got together for the first time. Needless to say it was slightly rough to begin with but they quickly responded to every initiative and I found myself with a very willing and reasonably able little ensemble. I can be a bit demanding and the players seemed to know that. I could tell that whatever they did, they would be trying as hard as they could. If they do that, it ensures that I can do the same and we will get along just fine! Who knows? We might just be brilliant
I will be aware of the fact that this is a holiday for the players but I will try to make the playing time something worthwhile and that can only enhance the whole experience.
Another rainy weekend and it might have been a dreadful evening at Beningborough Hall, had it not been cancelled due to the NT not wanting to provide adequate cover for the musicians. So last Saturday would really have been a washout.
Sunday was not only a final rehearsal for NSWO but the AGM too. It was time to thank some people who help to keep the orchestra running; and a good thing too.
The musical side was rushed and all the pieces needed to be seen. There was nothing wrong that could be fixed in one rehearsal so we ran most of it through and it should be a very good concert. The group will have to be at their best to carry it off in the environment of Djanogly Hall.
Another rain swept drive up the M1 and off to pick up mt son who has just finished at Manchester Uni with a 2.1 in History. Good lad!
Tonight there will be a Harlequin rehearsal at a new venue provided for us by Andy Platts. I am looking forward to trying it out and so are the group. After a week off to recover from the concert it will be good to build on that performance.
The weekend could have ended with a busy Sunday, with NSWO in the morning and an outdoor concert in the afternoon with Phoenix. As it was, the weather caused the afternoon event to be called off. I was getting suspicious about the conditions when I noticed the torrential rain bouncing off the road when I was driving up the M1. The sky darkened towards Sheffield and continued to darken as I approached Leeds. I wound my way to Roundhay and was looking for the right parking when a phone call came in to tell me it was cancelled.
The rehearsal in Nottingham was a busy one with detailed work being done on a few of the pieces for the next concert. The programme seems huge; I will be looking at that in more detail this week. It is a good programme with lots of variety and plenty for everyone to get to work on.
Afterwards, we looked at a venue for next year; a nice looking place with theatre acoustics. I know that the band will look great in there and it will sound good too; if we get our accuracy totally up to speed.
I noticed in the rehearsal that actual tightness and accuracy were lacking at times. I could not quite figure out why. Perhaps it has been a very busy year, full of concentration and some fatigue is setting in.
We worked a little bit on the Suite of Old American Dances by Bennett. When I announced it, there was an audible groan from some players. It really is beyond belief really, that a classic of the repertoire should cause such a reaction. It would be like announcing that a drama club was going to look at The Merchant of Venice and they all go "Oh no, not that old rubbish?"
The piece does present problems in style and definition but it's good enough for some of the world's best wind groups and it's more than good enough for us! We will perform it extremely well and the audience will appreciate the lush scoring and humorous writing.
I played football on Friday for the first time in about eight weeks. ("Oh no, not 4-4-2 again?") I was crap and could not keep my feet on the astro turf; which is designed to do maximum damage to your arse when you fall over on it. It was good to get back to it now that I'm not coughing all the time and I will get back to my former level of mediocrity.
On Saturday I expected to be a little bit stiff and creaky and it turned out that I was more than a little bit stiff and creaky!
Never mind! No pain-no gain! I will try harder next week.
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