Sunday, March 18, 2007

After Thoughts On A Rehearsal

After having the ensemble rehearsal, whereby we focussed on Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, in the afternoon today, I felt that there was much more about the music which could be milked from the work and I hadn't done the work justice earlier.

In comparison with several of his other piano sonatas, I do find this work pretty straightforward, in terms of its harmonic language and structure. Simplistic yet charmingly elegant nonetheless. It does give me a hint that Mozart had composed this work as a break while working on a bigger work.

Scanning through the musical notes in the entire work, it probably wouldn't be difficult to analyse through this entire work. But when it comes to playing it, I do find that it's quite musically taxing on guitarists, who are mostly playing solo music, to come together to work on a chamber work after not having much experience playing together. It's quite an achievement getting the rough shape of the first movement out, but there's still lots of work on the balance, whereby every musician in the ensemble has to be musically developed to know when to hold back to let the other voices sing and when their own voice ought to stand up and fly. I really hope that the layers would be more transparent and while playing coherently with the intention of bringing out the charming beauty of this work, each individual section of the ensemble will know when to take centre stage and allow their parts to fly with the support of other sections.

Being one of the most famous pieces of classical work around, I do feel quite a big pressure to shape up this work. It would be the most glaring to the audience when anyone of us makes a small mistake. Come to think of it, if this piece is played badly by us, the audience would probably think that guitar ensembles in general are overly ambitious to take on such a transcription. On the other hand, when a string ensemble messes this up, the audience would normally just dismiss the particular string ensemble involved as being incompetent. Truly hope that we can allow this charming work to take flight.

As regarding the process of interpretation in our ensemble, I do hope that everyone can see the entire beauty of the work. I'm sure disagreements in the interpretation of a particular work or passage would arise, but I hope to be able to put them up for discussion so that they will be ironed out with everyone being satisfied at the end of the day. Essentially, I hope that we can bring our audiences into an altered state when listening to our ensemble rendition of this charming serenade.

When it comes to chamber music, the group that comes into my mind is actually the Collegium Vocale Gent. I'll never forget the most intense experience I felt that night in the Esplanade Concert Hall when the small group of ensemble manage to touch the souls of their listeners with their masterful interpretations and pure sounds. I shan't blabber on about that again, but certainly hope that we can reach that level within the next few years.

I can't help but admit that I like this work more the Isaac Albeniz's Sevilla. Well, it isn't to justify why I didn't practise much on the latter recently, but I hope to be able to devote equal amount of dedication to the various ensemble works when I come back. Would be planning to work an hour or two daily on just ensemble pieces to ensure that my section would be musically mature and sensitive to our roles in all the various sections of the works as well.

**For those invisible readers who attended the rehearsal today, do give comments about this session so that everyone can know how to improve and focus on for the subsequent rehearsals after that. I'm not sure how receptive everyone is, but I certainly hope that it can kickstart the interpretation processes which is desperately needed by the music, not merely working on playing the notes individually every rehearsal.**


chaserj7 said...

Hey Jeff! =D

haha.. hope you don't mind me saying out what i think... =X

although i know next to nothing about the piece itself, but i think intepretation discussions might be more fruitful if the baton is passed at least one round around the table...

each player just says something about the piece just for fun lah.. whether or not it's hard fact or just personal feelings, it will certainly make intepretation take on higher meaning not only for that player but for the ensemble too. =D


solitudex said...

hi Janice!

that's a really good suggestion. i did tell them that it's a discussion and not a lesson at the start, but most of them were still pretty passive. hopefully, they'll start to open up and share when they are more familiar with that sort of discussion. actually, that day you came to our rehearsal was the first time i conducted such a discussion with them. just thought that it's time to start interpretation after getting stuck with trying to co-ordinate our playing most of the time. interpretation really is the interesting and meaningful part of music anyway.

i think i'll be trying to shift the focus more towards interpretation when i'm back. hope they'll be able to see the joy in interpreting music and making the music come to life.

thanks so much, looking forward to you joining us after your As! =)