Last night the Cornell Symphony Orchestra played its second concert of the season. It was a very hard concert to prepare for as we had 3 distinctive pieces of music from different eras. Samuel Barber’s Second Essay for Orchestra, Charles Peck’s Metropolitan for Orchestra and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade.
The day started off with a 3 hour long sound check in Bailey Hall. This was the last rehearsal before the concert so we did a complete run through of all of our pieces. We started off with the Barber piece. This piece is not conducted by Chris, but instead by our TA, Dietmar. It is a very beautiful piece of music, but it has some challenging rhythmic sections that needed to be addressed.
Next came the Barber. Barber is actually currently a PhD student at Cornell so he was sitting in on the rehearsal to give us advice and feedback on the piece. It was very useful to have him there as then we are able to play the music exactly how the composer wanted it.
After a short break, we went onto the highlight of our show, Scheherazade. Scheherazade is a huge piece that goes on for 40 minutes. It is a very lyrical piece and demanded a lot of attention into the dynamics and articulation. In order to get it right, we started to work on individual sections before ending the rehearsal with a run thru of the whole piece. All in all, I would say that it was a very successful rehearsal and all us musicians gave it our best.
I got to the concert hall at 7:15pm and there was already people sitting in the audience for the 8pm concert. As the concert hall slowly started to fill up with people, the excitement backstage also started to build up. Everyone was ready for the concert to start.
After tuning to the oboe, Bailey Hall went quiet and the concert was about to start. We played Barber first, the crowd went into applause as Dietmar walked onto stage. The Barber piece went very well, everyone came in on time and musically it was well done.
Peck turned out a bit differently to what we expected. It is a much harder piece of music. But we managed to stay together with Chris and pulled off a very hard piece of music.
After a brief intermission, it was finally time for Scheherazade. The first and second movements went very smoothly, with beautiful solos from different sections of the orchestra. The problem came at the third movement. This was a section that was always a bit shaky when we played it during rehearsal. It is a section of transition between the violin solo and tutti. The oboe and flute came in on time, but the english horn came in too early. Luckily he quickly realized and fixed his mistake. It was a nerve wracking moment as it could have messed the whole piece up.
The concerted ended on a high note and the orchestra received a standing ovation from the audience. It was great to end such a good semester on such a high note. I look forward to our next concert, where we will be playing Firebird and another concerto.