Today's rehearsal with the BSSO went quite well! We were able to get a lot of things settled and I actually feel ready for Thursday. What a rush! There's something completely different about performing a concerto than a "regular recital." For one, this concert will be streamed live (Thursday at 7:30 PM EST: view here), which means essentially the whole world can watch-- yikes! I that won't be the case, but playing for an audience attracted to the Symphony concert will be different than playing for an audience that comes to a faculty recital. I imagine there will be students' family members, students not performing, community members, other faculty, and then some. I do believe this will likely be the biggest audience for which I've ever played! And while part of that is scary, I'm also really excited. I am actually very well prepared for this performance, which is the first defense against performance anxiety. I've done the work in the practice room, and I KNOW this piece.
In fact, I love this piece. Being able to perform BARTOK! with an ORCHESTRA!!! It's a dream come true. In rehearsal today, as Maestro Droste worked a tutti passage with the group, I couldn't stop grinning ear to ear. It is a rare opportunity for someone that isn't Kim Kashkashian or Yo-Yo Ma or the like to be able to perform a piece the way the composer imagined*-- most times the rest of us are left to perform concertos with piano reduction. So hearing the different timbres of the violins and bassons and trumpets and flutes and clarinets and basses (the double basses have so really cool licks!) and everyone else was almost too much. I got so excited listening that I missed an entrance! I'll pay closer attention on Thursday of course, but until then, I am giddy, and really excited about achieving this milestone in my career.
Happy practicing indeed!
*For those of you who don't know, Bartok died before he completed the Viola Concerto. His student and friend, Tibor Serly, fleshed out the orchestral part from Bartok's sketches, so my statement isn't exactly true. We'll never know exactly how Bartok imagined this work, but Serly's edition is a benchmark of the viola literature. Learn more here.