Must be that time…
The blog took a break as I had pretty much run out of things to say but the brain of the Blogmeister seems to have opened up a synapse that had lain dormant and it’s time to crank the machine up again. Feel free to run screaming into the deepest corners of the internet (or curl up in the fetal position…that’s always a good plan).
So I noticed a theme that runs through many of the pieces that we’re working on for the fall concerts: subtlety. (Yeah, yeah, I know. Subtle is not something I’ve ever been accused of but hey…I know it when I see it.) So much of taking a good performance and elevating it to a great one is those little details that don’t even register with an audience but blend together to take the music to an elevated place.
Like what, you ask? Allow me to toss out an example or three.
Consider the “no” in the undercurrent of “Hisataka No”. It’s presented as two notes bridged by a single syllable and, if it’s done right, is actually two sounds. There’s an emphasis on the first note and a “backing off” on the second. Kinda like “NO-o, NO-o”. A little thing but really, really important.
How about the challenge of the running “twinkle” that all of the parts have at some point in “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”? This is particularly challenging because it drops a fairly significant interval between “twing” and “kuhl” and the tendency is to make a corresponding – for lack of a better word – “droop” in how that second syllable is sung. In the words of the Wicked Witch of the West, “These things must be done…delicately”.
A final one (and if you think all of these and many others flew by during last night’s rehearsal, you’re right…I wouldn’t make this stuff up) is the strange and wonderful forte-piano in the first movement of the Trotta adventure. That one makes ALL the difference, look for the fp in the score. Ya’ hit it hard and then immediately back it off to quiet…and then look for the crescendo after. Think of the shifting of gears on a motorcycle, if you get my drift.
There are and will be dozens more of these little nuggets of subtlety and they need to be understood, written in the score and made to be part of how you think of the different pieces. Trust the Blogmeister, it will make a world of difference!