We are playing Rachmaninov’s second symphony this weekend in South Bend, and I have always liked it very much. It’s beautiful, extremely romantic, challenging enough to be fun but not so hard that I have to practice it every minute. The musicians in general are very enthusiastic about it and the orchestra is playing well, and we have enough rehearsal time to prepare and play successfully and enjoyably.
But I wasn’t personally excited about this weekend’s concert until we rehearsed the concerto this evening. I had not heard the Bartok Viola Concerto before (aside from listening to it this week to prepare) and I find that its stark harmonies and odd atonal-yet-folksy licks are incredibly satisfying to hear and play. Our principal violist, Gabriel Schlaffer, will be the soloist (he joins us tomorrow) and I am absolutely eager to hear his beautiful sound join our orchestra in this fascinating VERY late Bartok work.
The concert will be terrific, and good for the soul on a snowy northern night. Even Steve is going to come!