All of us at the NFO love meeting for our Wednesday evening rehearsals. It’s always good fun, and occasionally funny - especially the early sessions where we are all sightreading (often very challenging) new pieces for the season ahead. Andrew Easton, from our first violin section, shares his notes on such an occasion...
"Concertgoers regularly ask what goes on at a rehearsal, something some members of the orchestra sometime ask as well! Well the NFO members are back in the New Year rehearsing for our Spring concert in New Milton on 28.3.20. To give people a flavour of what goes on, consider this recent rehearsal...
The orchestra assembles and sits down by 19.30, we tune up to an oboe A (it’s always useful to be in tune at the start), and then our conductor Ieuan shows us the piece to be played, raises his baton, a couple of beats to set the tempo and we’re away:-
Diddle dum diddle dum diddle dum dum du-
“Hang on!” says Ieuan, stopping the proceedings, “something is not right.”
Someone from the wind section asks, “It is the Gershwin we’re playing?”
“No”, say Ieuan, “It’s the galop from the Rossini – William Tell!”
“Oh,” – says the bewildered player – “sorry about that.”
“As we’ve stopped, what bowing are we doing at the start of the Galop?” asks Ieuan.
“As it comes”, say our leader Alan, “up down, up down, with a bit of bounce on the bow”.
“Oh!” says Ieuan, “It’s just that the New York Phil play it two downs and one up, with bounce.”
We might have the word NEW in our name but we’re not the New York Phil...
Someone in the strings says “how about three notes to each bow?” – as they find this easier.
“Let’s try again”, says Ieuan, “and use Alan’s bowing.”
Diddle dum diddle dum diddle dum dum dum diddle dum diddle dum diddle dum dum dum...
From the start of the Galop until the end a few minutes later, everyone gives their all, some have a glance at the conductor, other keep their heads down and try and get brain and fingers to work in harmony and others, from the look on their faces, are terrified by all the notes, so many notes and so little time to play them all in.
Curiously we all finish together – now we have to work out all the bits in the middle!
“Thank you” – says Ieuan, “that’s just a bit slower than I’d like to play it in the concert”.
Phew - we all felt, in the orchestra, that it was just fast enough!
So – that’s what we do at our rehearsals, the conductor’s beat is essential, but Ieuan is not there just to beat time, he’s there to make sure we can all play together, in time, in tune and play the dynamics and tempos of each piece, all at the same time. "
We’ll be continuing work on Rossini’s William Tell Overture over the next few weeks, as well as a whole host of stage and screen favourites, including The Big Country Theme, Gabriel’s Oboe and the Peer Gynt Suite. Join us to enjoy our resulting concert ‘From Stage and Screen’ on Saturday 28 March at Arnewood School in New Milton.