I love playing Mahlerfest. However, rehearsals take up a significant amount of time. Every night this week (save tomorrow), plus two performances this weekend. So fun time during the day is spent doing stuff that I can’t do at night.
In the meantime, here’s what I wrote last year when I was in the orchestra:
15 01 2007
The foyer lights dim and brighten, dim and brighten, alerting the audience that the concert is about to begin. The orchestra quiets. Applause for the concertmistress. A tuning “A”. Another. And another. The hall lights dim, the stage lights brighten.The conductor enters the stage. Rise to acknowledge the applause. Sit.
The music begins. A story is told. The lighthearted camaraderie is gone now, replaced by a single-minded focus. A multi-minded focus, as the single musicians become one, an orchestra. Every musician is now an island, unable, unwilling to converse with anyone else save by sound. A musical conversation, passed amongst the musicians, overheard by the audience.
Perfection. Anything less is failure.
Vocal soloists sing in German, understood in the international language of music. Beauty. Timeless.
The music ends. No one moves, frozen in the perfection of the moment. Movement will mar the perfection. Do not breathe. Do not think. Sit. Feel. Know the power of music.
The conductor lowers his arms. Breathe. Applause. Waves of applause. The audience rises to its feet in appreciation. Acknowledge the soloists. Acknowledge the principal musicians. Rise to acknowledge the audience. Again. Again. Cheers for the beauty and power of Mahler’s music.
The applause wanes. The house lights come up, the stage lights lower. The easygoing camaradie of the musicians returns (wasn’t that beautiful? are you going to the reception? bottle of wine and two straws…). The musicians clean out their instruments, loosen their bows, pack up their equipment and head out into the frigid evening.