CB Rehearsal plays Magnificent Men

So often, when I turn up to a TfO Concert Band rehearsal, there is something – a phrase, scale run or other challenge that has me a bit apprehensive.

TfO_May2015Banner-general300At our last run through my ‘challenge’ was with How to Train Your Dragon. With our MD seeming to keep ‘upping’ the standard, some challenge is to be expected. But this piece has some tricky repetitive phrases played quite fast.

At our last rehearsal Ed [conductor] wanted second clarinets to play through one of these, and I knew I couldn’t. Keris, who shares second with me had no problem so I left it to her – playing solo. Oh, what a coward. Ed asked, how many seconds are there? I raised my hand slowly. There was a pause as the rest of the band sat waiting for his next words. In a soft tone he said ‘perhaps, next time, you could play just a bit louder, Chris? It was intended to be a friendly way of taking me off the spot but I knew that next time around I needed to be sure to get it.

So I had many short pratice sessions on that, and other phrases, in this piece; and when it came to another run through I was almost there – enough at least to sound as a full part of the band. I have to work on a few duff notes and one other bit of phrasing that I know I can play but keep falling over it. But, all in all, felt achievement.

But . . . the one piece I was fearing most was Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines. When Jane Whittle announced that she had bought the score I was delighted. Then I saw the second clari part and my heart went thump. Eight bars full of semi quavers, some on a run up to top D. This is beyond my grade and Ed will probably ensure we play at top speed – must demand more money. Oops! I pay to join, don’t get paid. Will have to have an extra piece of cake at break time!

I thought I might be better dropping to a third seat but that part was almost the same.

Well, the run through wasn’t too painful but I now have another couple of weeks improving some of these phrases. I know I can often ‘get away with it’ by playing first and last notes in the run but that’s a cheat and I must learn to play the lot.

One final piece added in yesterday that I had not seen before was Hawaii Five-O. That appeared quite easy so I sat back and relaxed as I browsed through the sheet. This has to be precision counting and half is in Eb major – not my favourite key. That turned out not to be a problem as almost all the notes in that key were top B. It then modulates to E major. I am starting to scrutinise carefully relieved once again to find that only one note is affected. Finally into F major, long notes, and home on a cresc.

The piece is really fast but on this occasion that is no problem for my part. You don’t hear me say that very often!!

Two more rehearsals planned and then our April Concert in Colwall. Feeling much more comfortable with the play list after yesterday. Thanks Ed for allowing me to share the journey with the TfO Concert Band

Link to the Film Orchestra