For me as a freelancer, performing in front of an orchestra as a soloist is not an opportunity that comes up often. It is a most welcome change of pace when it does! This week I am lucky to play with three very talented horn players that I love playing with: Steven Behnke, Alexander Chin, and Sarah Boxmeyer. Michael Tietz, Musical Director, Principal Conductor of the Broadway Bach Ensemble approached me last year about performing this piece with his orchestra last year because he had been waiting a very long time to program it and could wait no longer. We all jumped at the chance to volunteer to cover this piece. We had a lot of fun in the process!
Having performed this piece in 2010, I had an idea of what to prepare. Of course personal practice is very important in this piece, but more important than the technical side of it is the timing and approach to the extremely high tessitura that is inevitable with playing first horn requires for this particular piece. After having fingerings and technical practice worked out, I tried different embouchure settings that made this piece not feel so high. The challenge always comes with endurance and only being able to practice for twenty minutes at a time. I never feel like I get anything done in a single practice session, but over the course of a month or so I can see it come together.
As an ensemble, we had two rehearsals and exchanged recordings over the course of two months. It can be a real challenge to sync up four schedules, but we somehow managed to piece it together! While it's a very virtuostic work, it's easy to put together when everyone is dedicated to being prepared. I see myself as an advocate for our horn quartet, and Mike has been incredibly thoughtful of our needs in terms of endurance and safety while providing the orchestra with their needs at the same time. The Broadway Bach Ensemble is a great community orchestra made up of great folks who perform several concerts a year. Visit their website at http://www.broadwaybach.org/.
We had a dress rehearsal on the Saturday morning before, and the concert was at 2pm on Sunday, February 5. at Broadway Presbyterian Church on W. 114th Street and Broadway. Also on the program was Incidental Music to Abdelazer by Henry Purcell and Dvorak's Symphony No. 5! It's a big piece and I am still sitting with memories of the things I missed in concert and never missed in rehearsals, so I'm in the phase of thinking about why that happened. I'm looking forward to hearing the recording and hopefully hearing that it came out better than I remember. It's still always a treat to perform this piece and I'll be waiting for the next time it comes up!