Sunday, 18 September 2011

Starting of the season, and decision to go to University.

It's been a while since I've updated my blog, and there has been a lot of development, so it is time.

First of all, since Music season has finally started, I am busy yet again! This is wonderful! I get bored when I'm not busy all the time, so I have been very happy recently. I've noticed that being happy has a huge effect on playing music well, even in largo, downtempo tunes that can sound sad.

The two last Orchestre Symphonique de L'Isle rehearsals have been fantastic. We've worked on Dvorak's New World Symphony a lot, a bit of Camille St-Saens, Carl Maria von Weber, and Paul Dukas. Those are the composers that we're playing for November 26th, and I'm really excited to keep working on the St-Saens. My stand partner and I were both very surprised at how hard the Dukas piece was. We hadn't worked on it that much by ourselves, and were surprised when our conductor indicated the tempo.

We also sight read through Dvorak's fourth movement of the Ninth Symphony. What a ride that was! The basses have a huge part in this, and a lot of is very physical. A lot of tremelo, and very fast tempos. At the bottom of the post, I'll post a link to a great recording of the fourth movement. Also, a previous post of mine shows the last page of the basses part.

The rehearsal we had before that one (on the 7th of October), we were practicing the first movement. There is a large part of the first movement that is repeated, and we were practicing the transition into the repeat. I had misunderstood, and thought we were starting from a different part. My stand partner didn't realize, so he hadn't corrected me. During the transition, there are two bars of rest for the basses, and since I thought we were starting from a different part, I understood that there was only one bar of rest. So, during the second bar of rest, I had played a pizzicato (pizzicato means to play with the fingers instead of the bow) note, and it was very obviously heard because the basses cue the whole orchestra on the pizzicato note. This happened twice, with my stand partner becoming angry with me, and I didn't understand why I was making this mistake. The third time, it happened again, and the conductor turned angrily at us and yelled "What are you doing! Stop making mistakes!" Charles, my stand partner looked at me, and I yelled back "It was him!", with my finger pointing at him. Charles' face turned red, and the conductor angrily yelled back "It's not my problem! Sort it out!", but as he was turning away from us, he started to laugh and stopped conducting. We were laughing about it, and most of the symphony didn't seem to understand what had happened.

Recently, I have decided to attend University. I had been out of a job, and I really wanted a job that would pay me, but I'd still be able to focus on music. I realized that I should just go back to school. Coincidentally, a few of my friends have been attending a university in Lennoxville called Bishop's. Another one of my best friends has started going to Champlain, located on the same campus. Also, to further the coincidence, this is the original University I wanted to attend (for Education). I decided that I would attend there, and now I have an audition in October. I am auditioning Simandl's 11th Etude, and half of Vivaldi's 5th Sonata - the first and second movements. I'm confident about my audition because I can already play both of these pieces well, and I still have a month to prepare. Last Friday (the 16th) I auditioned Simandl's 11th Etude for Quebec Wind Ensemble, and I feel quite confident about the piece. However, when I went to my lesson today, I played it for my teacher. He said that I played it perfectly, in perfect time, perfect pitch, no issues what so ever. However, he started to laugh, and crack up. He said "I just have one question.." he starts to laugh again, "what timing is the piece in?" I replied, "it's in 6/8, why?" and alas, he replied "you played it in 4/4!". This isn't much of a problem, but it took a while to fix the rhythm issue I had created for myself.

Here are some links to pieces of music that I am playing in the coming months:

Dvorak's 9th Symphony mov. 4:
Paul Dukas - The Sorceror's Apprentice:
Camille St-Saens - Danse Macabre:

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Lesson on Tuesday, September 6th, 2011.

On Tuesday I had another lesson with my long-term professor, Reuven Rothman. I brought my bass to the lesson, and of course, there were funny things that happened on the way.

While I was walking out of Rosemont Metro, there was this drunken lady that walked past me, and said 'Hey!', while winking and making a kissing face at me. Some of my friends have jokingly said that carrying my bass around must make women interested in me, and I suppose that that's been proven to me now.

Back in the metro, on the way back home, there was a guido-Jersey-Shore girl that saw me, and mimicked playing the double bass while laughing with her friend. Actually, this happens quite a bit. And of course, there is the always 'Whoa! Big guitar!' comment.

I realized that since this is a bit of a boring post, that I'll share one of my favourite stories that have happened to me.

Last Season (2010-2011), I was doing a concert for a friend at H.S. Billings High School in Chateauguay. Initially, I was to only play two sets with the tutti ensemble. I ended up doing four sets, two jazz trios, and two tutti ensemble. However, during the second tutti ensemble (the last set), there was this alarm that started going off! No one knew what it was, and the conductor was still going, so we kept playing.

After the tune ended, the Principal came on stage and told everyone to evacuate! We were told to leave our instruments on stage, or in the classroom, and of course, I'm not going to do that. I never leave my bass anywhere if I don't know if it's safe or not. So, I run outside carrying my bass, and all of the doors get locked behind us.

After an hour or so, we're informed that we won't be able to get back inside that night. During then, I was standing outside with my bass, bow, and my suit. My cellphone, keys, wallet, transportation card (Opus), bass case, and other set of clothes were all locked inside the school! I couldn't go home because I was in a different city, so I was stuck.

Luckily, I knew the percussionist and I stayed at his house. I had to call my job and tell them that I'd be late because there was a fire at the gig I was at last night (they thought that I meant that my instrument and everything was caught in fire). So, the next day I eventually get home and make it to work. It was a heck of a concert, and one of the most memorable so far.

Here's a link to the article about the fire:

And here's a link to the concert review (which mentions our two jazz trios!