I can’t believe it’s over.
As I write this, I’m on the road home. So much has happened, and I’ve learned so much that it will fuel this blog with content for a couple more weeks, at least.
Saturday brought dress rehearsal with Marin Alsop and the orchestra. Our group, Group 2, finally had a chance to sit in the hall and listen to the rehearsal of Group 1. Group 1 had a different repertoire to perform:
- The Overture to Candide, by Leonard Bernstein (an Alsop mentor!)
- Alborada del gracioso, by Maurice Ravel, and
- The first movement of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony #2.
The Bernstein is a favorite orchestra concert opener, and is full of light-hearted humor and fun. The Ravel is a French Impressionist composer’s take on Spanish music, and was very different from the Rimskey-Korsakov take on Spanish music that our group had in the Capriccio. The Mahler was alternately thrilling and ethereal, appropriate for a Symphony that has the subtitle, “Resurrection.”
Our group one colleagues returned the favor as our Group took the stage for our final rehearsal. My extra practice on the Capriccio paid off, in a compliment from my stand partner on the progress I had made in 24 hours. A “class photo”, lunch and a Q&A with Marin Alsop followed, and then we had the afternoon off to relax, rendezvous with our families and friends, and prepare for the final concert.
The Meyerhoff was about three-quarters full for the final concert; the size of the audience surprised the BSO musicians. The Symphony had also billed the concert as a “Donor Appreciate Concert” so the private boxes were well populated. The concert was also free to the general public, so we also attracted some local fans of the symphony.
Unlike most of my colleagues who sat in the audience, I listened in the Green Room with another Academy member – an oboe player – during the first half of the concert. It turned out to be strategic: I was able to hear Marin’s comments as she came off-stage after the Mahler. She was clearly happy with the Group 1 performance.
Then it was time for our Group to take the stage. I felt surprisingly relaxed – no attack of nerves like I had suffered on Friday during the chamber performance – and it was all over way too quickly. The Capriccio and the Hindemith are both such show pieces, that the audience immediately left to its feet at the end, giving us a standing ovation and three curtain calls.
We were all exhilarated. We had done it! We had played side-by-side with the BSO, and had learned so much and worked so hard. None of us were ready for it to be over.
We have many memories and a host of ideas to improve our playing for the future. So, where do I sign up for next year?