April 14 rehearsal blog

Hi All,

Here’s our recording of Ticheli’s Second Symphony, movement 3, from today’s rehearsal:

STE-057

Listen with your part in hand, enjoy the polished sections, and pay close attention to those in need of work.  For example, measures 85-103 have improved noticeably.  Measures 103-134 are clearly much more challenging (and exposed), and we’ll dig into that section next next week.  As always, let me know if I may be of any assistance.

 


13 Comments

ag739

April 19, 2016at 11:57 am

Sorry about the late response!

Although the opening of the piece has improved dramatically from when we first started, we’re still dragging, and I think a lot of that could be fixed by being lighter on the eighth notes.

As I’m looking at my part with the recording, overall I feel like we can bring out the accents more. I feel that this is something that we all think we’re doing, but upon listening to the recording, it’s not coming out as much as it should.

The section at 85: we start off tapering really well! But then it kind of dies down after the first two measures. We need to keep up the energy if we want to maintain this effect throughout the whole section (mm 85-100).

The more I listen, the more I see a common theme: we start sections strongly, but then it will kind of fall apart (not completely, but it definitely isn’t as cohesive as it was when first starting out) due to lack of looking up from the stand or not listening to your surroundings. This isn’t every section in the piece, but it does happen more often than it should .This is something that happens in most of our pieces, and I think it’s important that need to remember to be aware! I find listening to the recordings of the music we play as often as possible is really helpful; this way, it’s not a surprise when we’re all playing together.

And, as always, we should do more with dynamics. They’re good, but I think we could do better to be more dramatic with them. This sort of relates to what I wrote directly above this.

The ending has improved so much (like 215 to the end), and it sounds really good! In the section from 250-256, I think that working on how we should articulate those eighth notes has really paid off, because I can hear the chord resonate much better than before.

Hanxiang

April 18, 2016at 11:49 pm

Overall, the whole piece becomes nicer and every section works pretty well, but I think there are some flaws of the coordination between different sections that we can improve in the future rehearsal.

1. The beginning part feels a little fragile and like some people mentioned, I think we should keep tighter.
2. Also, I think the the temple block I played is too loud in the beginning.
4. In the last 4 bars, I think our rhythm becoming unstable, since the volume and dynamic are getting higher.

chriswest42

April 18, 2016at 9:08 pm

Sorry for the delayed response, I agree with a lot of what has been said already, but here are my personal observations:

There seem to be a lot of places throughout the piece, but especially so at the beginning of the movement through about 47, where there are very slight delays in articulation. A lot of this is just confidence in our parts, especially with the rhythmic requirements of this piece. The section starting at Measure 85 has definitely come a long way, but it suffers from the same delays that are causing a lot of muddiness and dragging tempo-wise.

The chorale sections, especially the first one at 103 onward, seemed incredibly subdued. That may be because of a couple missing members from the low brass during this rehearsal, but we can definitely bring that section out a lot more in the future. The same is true for a lot of the muted trombone sections, based on the recording, they aren’t being accented nearly as much as they should be. I’ll make sure that we touch on both of these in the upcoming sectional rehearsal.

Michael Pelliccia

April 17, 2016at 11:57 pm

So overall, I think the it’s improved a lot so far. I really like the balance as well as overall unity from measures 1 to 38.
1. From 87 to 100, it sounds as though there’s been improvement. Although, we might need some more focus there more rhythmic accuracy as well as distinguishing certain notes based on their accents.
2. I think that the crescendo in measure 133 could be a bit larger. Maybe we could start somewhat softer?
3. Trumpets, including myself, could’ve had a more unified entrance at measure 144. I think that’ll be something for me to focus in on during Tuesday’s rehearsal.
4. I also liked 187 to 200. We played it nicely. Although, from 200 to 221, we may not be accentuating the dynamics enough and staying mostly soft. This may be simply because of the way its written but I felt that it was pretty flatline with dynamics.
5. I think the second trumpets could be louder from 232 to 237. I’ll make sure to pay extra attention to that on Tuesday.

ashkanshahbandi

April 17, 2016at 10:27 pm

Overall the recording sounds quite nice; the sections we have spent the most work on definitely sound the best (as expected), but we sound great even in places we haven’t spent as much time on. A few comments:

1. Measure 26 is not being articulated correctly; while our natural tendency is to accent each beat, we have to play what is written.

2. Many people have mentioned that the saxophone section isn’t doing enough with the dynamics at measure 35. I agree with this; it’s a rather strange passage, as the repeated ascending triplet rhythm would normally prompt a dynamic increase rather than the decrescendo that is marked.

3. Overall, there needs to be more dynamic contrast between different parts of the ensemble. I think that the high winds are dominating the sound currently, and while the high winds do comprise the majority of the melodic components of the work, the pulse is driven by the lower winds and brass. This needs to be emphasized much more, and paying attention to balance goes a long way in accomplishing this.

Nonetheless, it’s coming along quite nicely. Great job everyone.

Meghna

April 17, 2016at 10:02 pm

1. Like many people have said, I thought the beginning was a bit hesitant sounding. It’s definitely come a long way though, and more repetitions will continue to build our confidence.

2. Around 35 sounded gorgeous

3. The arrival point at 85 was kinda sloppy. We need to focus more on rhythm and accents rather than brute force and volume.

4. I absolutely love the flute/sax part at 102. Awesome every time

5. 134-142ish sounded a bit scattered and timid in general. Even though the instrumentation is pretty thin, it should still be played confidently.

6. The forte-pianos at 200 were pretty much nonexistent.

7. Wow 237 came out way better than I was expecting! The accents in 243 need to be bigger though, and I felt that the last run (246-247) wasn’t as tight as it should be.

8. The triplets in 265-266 sound muddled. Also, I agree with what somebody else said: the last note needs a bit more resonance so we can hear the chord resolution

jmp448

April 17, 2016at 9:13 pm

I think that overall, the piece is coming along really well and now it’s time for us to start appreciating that, gaining some serious self-confidence and working to perfecting rather than just playing.

The second big picture comment I want to make is that I think that our listening really needs to keep improving, which is much easier said than done but it’s a good thing to focus on. I have to confess, there were parts that really jumped out at me in this recording that I just did not know were there because I was so focused on my part. I think that listening to other sections will have a profound impact on not only our intonation, which jumped out at me in the more bare parts, but also our ability to highlight the parts of the music that need to be highlighted. I think that we have gotten to a point where our next big focus should actually be on the big picture before really perfecting individual parts, because at the more exposed parts especially I think a lot of us were questioning what exactly needs to be highlighted. So if everyone listens to the recordings that we’re provided with for this song, listens to our own recordings, and listens to the band in rehearsal, I think that these things will fall into place quite nicely.

One specific thing I want to mention is that now that we have got the zap sounds and the sharp attacks, we need to make sure that those are REALLY in sync. For example, trumpets and brass have a lot of fortepianos and if anyone delays their drop in volume those can sound pretty sloppy.

I thought the woodwinds sounded amazing during the stretch from 237 to the end, on the long runs. Very synchronized!

Lily McGovern

April 17, 2016at 5:02 pm

1. The first 20 or so measures felt very timid. Although I believe it was played “correctly”, it sounded uncertain and the pulse never quite locked in. We need to just go for it and put more energy behind the sound!

2. Tempo drags at m. 26, and we’re still accenting the subdivision (but not to the extent of previous rehearsals). I really like the blend in the low brass and saxes; the sound has a presence to it.

3. Ashkan’s solo a few measures before 38 sounds great, but the entire sax section doesn’t do enough with m. 38 itself. The lick is supposed to begin at a fortissimo, then drop down to nothing.

4. At m. 60, I can barely hear the “response” of the call and response line. Trumpets have the first statement and that is very present, but the second statement (which I have) is nearly inaudible.

5. From around m.60 onward (to around m. 93) I felt the balance in the ensemble was very off. To me it sounded as if we were screaming; there wasn’t enough bottom/low end to the sound. I think we may be taking the “taper” idea to mean an overly intense accent, particularly at m. 85 and on. The enthusiasm is nice though!

6. m. 110-130 had some timing and balance issues. Again I didn’t hear enough low brass and the harmonies did not quite lock in. But a lot of that may be the recording.

7. The snare becomes disconnected with the rhythmic line in the winds at m. 154. We have to remember to listen to each other.

8. I really thought the section from m. 175 onward was nice. It sounded tight and “peppy” (had some energy).

9. Saxes need to do a lot more with 227. Our line adds a lot of fun color to the sound but the dynamics are not coming out.

10. It was pretty tight at 237! Sounded light and fluffy

11. Again this may have been the recording, but I felt the snare drum was too much near the end (around m. 250 and on). The sound carries enough to where it overpowers everything else.

acbro

April 17, 2016at 4:50 pm

1. The beginning of the piece has definitely improved, but it still needs to lock in tighter rhythmically.

2. A lot of the forte pianos are not getting quiet enough, particularly around 120.

3. In the section from 93-100 everything sounds the same (articulation-wise). The accent notes are good, we just need to bring down the surrounding notes.

4. In 193 and 194, the 3 16th note figures should start piano and build to forte but they’re starting too loud so we don’t have enough room to grow.

5. Overall the piece is coming together, but we need to pay more attention to doing what’s marked on the page (artuculation, dynamics, etc) and really making sure we’re staying with James for tempo.

Emily

April 16, 2016at 4:13 pm

1. Overall the piece is coming together nicely. Each section has clearly been working on the technical aspects of their parts.

2. The beginning could use a bit more spunk; although it’s played correctly, it still sounds slightly off because we’re not playing with enough confidence.

3. In general, dynamics need to have a greater contrast. Being aware of everyone else’s parts will help us to make sure we’re not covering the melody.

4. We need to make sure to watch James and each other before m.237 to ensure that we slow down together.

5. I feel that the last note either needs to be longer, or we need to exaggerate the dynamic swell in the penultimate measure. In the recording it felt too short and like a weak ending.

6. Overall, more dynamics, more confidence, more sass and accents, and more awareness of the other parts. We’ve done a lot of work on our parts individually, now we just need to piece them all together 🙂

Emily

April 16, 2016at 11:30 am

1. I think overall there needs to be more confidence in the parts, so exposed parts seem like they are supposed to be there.

2. I think there needs to be more dynamic contrast as well. Especially at measure 77, it didn’t seem like the arrival point that it is supposed to be.

3. There also needs to be more rhythmic accuracy. There are many sections where a group that has the same rhythm won’t be playing together.

4. At measure 26, we slowed down a lot. The people who have the consistent eighth notes there need to remember to keep the tempo up.

5. At measure 123, the secondary chorale is almost impossible to hear. I think it needs to be a little closer to the volume of the main chorale.

6. Also, overall accents need to be brought out more because most of them aren’t even being played now.

tiffanyliu97

April 14, 2016at 10:29 pm

1. The beginning could be played with more energy since it’s really exposed.

2. Don’t forget about the big arrival point at m.77. It could be more dramatic/obvious. Same thing at m.85. It’s important to keep the energy moving through those measures and don’t let the tempo drag.

3. At m.105 the clumps of notes (particularly in the flute and percussion) could be played with more rhythmic accuracy. Be more confident about coming in so it doesn’t sound jumbled. Subdividing would help.

4. Don’t forget about the tempo change into m.134. It sounded like we forget that it existed and we didn’t take off right away.

5. Watch out for the ritard before m.237.

6. Woodwinds – don’t forget the accents on the runs at m. 237. Try to listen around you to be more together.

Overall, we should work on keeping the tempo constant and playing together. We can do this by subdividing during the rests and even when we’re playing. We can also work on rhythmic accuracy throughout the whole piece to unify it even more. We can be more expressive about our dynamics too. I think we’ve made a lot of impressive improvement but there’s a lot that needs to be done!

Paige Varney

April 14, 2016at 9:42 pm

I want to start by saying that I was pleasantly surprised in rehearsal- I think we’ve done a really good job so far in cleaning up this movement. But (as always) there’s more work to be done…

1. One general note, that I know has been said many times, is that everyone (myself included) needs to play more confidently, especially in a such a rhythm-heavy piece. I think we could implement this by recognizing how much we’ve improved on this piece and just believing in ourselves more. Yes it sounds cheesy, but I don’t think there’s any other way.

2. In rehearsal it feels like the piece is moving so fast, but I can hear on the recording (around measure 18) that it’s under tempo, and already dragging… I almost want to say that it might feel better to conduct in one rather than three, but because it’s so rhythmically dense I feel like I need all three beats to stay in time.

3. Ashkan sounds absolutely lovely right around 38 when he plays that lick.

4. Every time we come to a part with harmonies that should be heard, it sounds like we’re not blending so well.

5. Things kind of fell apart at 85, especially with the folks who have quarter notes (myself included).

6. piccolo, flute, and sax sound awesome around 101

7. The transition at 134 was not played confidently at all.

8. Trumpets sounded awesome at 3:52.

9. 195 on sounded very unified.

10. The ritard before 237 was kind of a disaster.

11. The balance from 237-250 sounded a little woodwind heavy… it might just be the recording though.

12. I wish the ending note was longer, and a little more resonant. It will probably resonate more in Bailey as well.

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