14-Day Musical Marathon!

Posted By on March 16, 2008

If any of you have ever played a silent film “live” orchestral accompaniment by Carl Davis, you will know that they can be pretty hefty. We’ve been doing them you years here in “The Burg”. And that’s how this little playing marathon began. On March 3rd, we dove into rehearsals on the King Vidor film, “The Big Parade” and after a dress rehearsal two days later, performed the 137-minute WW1 epic twice, once on Friday and once on Saturday. By the way, of the 137 minutes of music, the first horn plays about 110 minutes! The following morning, Kristina and I threw our choral singing togs and music into the car and raced down to Genouilly in Burgundy. We were scheduled to perform with Intermedii at an all-weekend music festival. We were the Sunday afternoon show and we chose an hour program which was comprised of pieces by Tallis, Byrd, Nystedt, Di Lasso and Pitoni and Gershwin. The little show cut off quite splendidly and we all retired to the Vigar’s abode to partake in our traditional post-Intermedii merriments . Chris and La Vigar, by the way, are members of Intermedii and have a marvelous country house near Genouilly.

But alas we could tarry no longer (madrigal talk), and the next morning we headed back to good old Luxembourg. The first rehearsal of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony was scheduled that Monday afternoon. And after two more subsequent rehearsal days, we performed this magnificent work on Thursday night, the 13th. The French “Wunderkind” (gotta love the linguistic irony there), David Guerrier was the soloist, performing the Strauss 1st Horn Concerto on the “Wienerhorn”.

The following day, the OPL read through the next big program which was scheduled for Saturday, the 15th. The program was fantastic for the horns! John William’s superbly written “Cowboy Overture”, theme from “The Magnificent Seven”, “Rawhide”, Hoe-Down from “Rodeo” and “Billy the Kid”, both by Copland. Immediately following that concert, most of us drove once again down to France. This time we were in Fixem, just across the Luxembourg border. Kristina joined the section (She had been tied up in a CD recording project all day) to read down the program and play to a packed house at 8:30 PM. On the program: Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man”, Gershwin’s “Summertime”, Bernstein’s “West Side Story Suite and Overture” and an interesting medley of folksongs about Jeanne d’Arc, who was from that region. All in all, the concert was a huge blow, especially right on the heels of a 2 1/2 hour rehearsal, which itself immediately followed the “Cowboy” program!

Kristina and I fairly limped off the stage last night, drove home in the rain, popped open a few strong Belgian beers and hit the sack. Needless to say, I won’t be playing my horn today. And although I truly enjoy these periods of incredible business, they are really only manageable if there are a few good recovery days scheduled in. And that brings me to Palm Sunday. Oh yea! My piece for wind quartet, “New-Found Journal” is being performed this afternoon at the Syrdal Musical Series out in Roodt-sur-Syr. Well, at least I’m not playing or singing. But I think they want me to say something in Luxembourgish about the piece. Now how do you say “swash-buckling adventure” in Luxembourgish?

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