Oh, this concert was FUN.
Beethoven’s Second Symphony, for one thing, which is just the right amount of difficult to keep you busy and engaged and concentrating and on the edge of your chair but not quite hard enough to get stressed about or to exhaust you for the rest of the day.
And a guest conductor, for another. We worked with David Glover, assistant conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony. He held our orchestra to very high standard, asking for truly soft playing, driving tempos forward despite the difficulty of the piece, and insisting on excellent ensemble work. I have a great deal of respect for a leader who requests a specific string section articulation or wind section sound and then keeps insisting until it is achieved. I respect a leader who comes in with preformed musical ideas and a clear mental picture of the performance, and who works efficiently to create the conditions for that performance.
I love to be asked to change something in my playing. I love to be challenged to play more softly, more dolce, more excitingly. I love it when someone suggests a different direction for a phrase, or proposes a new style. Even if I don't love what I'm being asked to do I'm delighted to try something new and I enjoy the interesting task of integrating the new idea and making it mine.
The orchestra rose beautifully to the challenge. It was a tight and exciting performance of a great and seldom-played piece, and I was proud to be a part of it. My colleagues are marvelous and I enjoyed every minute.
Happy 2014, Everyone! We are off and running.