So much to say about this weekend’s program featuring Schumann’s Cello Concerto and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde. David Robertson says it in a few words, with the support of the Symphony musicians rehearsing the Mahler.
I had the great privilege to spend time on the stage during Das Lied von der Erde rehearsal on Tuesday afternoon, shooting footage for this week’s video blog.
Here is how rehearsal works. David Robertson gives the downbeat and the orchestra plays for awhile. It sounds great.
Robertson stops them and tells them some things. If he’s speaking to a specific section, principals in other sections turn and tell their colleagues some things. Lots of people are talking, yet everyone is focused.
Robertson takes the orchestra back to what they played previously, gives the downbeat, and they play it again.
Magic. It sounds better than before.
Among the many glories of the St. Louis Youth Orchestra concert Friday night–including the astonishing music-making and the 1800 people in the house that were riveted by it–was the joy of the musicians, individually and collectively, as palpable as their sound.
With St. Louis experiencing the forces of early winter this week, the Symphony welcomed a few thousand schoolchildren to learn how composers have used nature as inspiration: storms, rivers, the power of a sunrise, the power of the Earth itself, and the grandeur of outer space.
Big kudos to Symphony Director of Education Berakiah Boone for helping to let the forces of nature be for everyone.
Helen Kim and Xiaoxiao Qiang share the wonders and terrors of their Beethoven solos this weekend.
Friday Markus Groh performed Schumann’s Traumerei (loosely translated as “Dreaming”) from Kinderszenen (or “Scenes from Childhood”).
Saturday night he gave us Brahms’ Intermezzo in E-flat major, op. 117, no. 1.
For St. Louis Symphony musicians it’s never just about playing the notes. There is emotion, memory, personal and professional history that filters through as well. Cellist Bjorn Ranheim shares all of the above.
The Lemminkainen myth is tremendously complex, with motifs reminiscent of heroic figures such as Achilles, Orpheus and Don Juan. Guest conductor Hannu Lintu began to take a moment in rehearsal to give the musicians some narrative background with which to perform Sibelius’ Lemminkainen’s Return. Rehearsals, however, are not conducive to the telling of long mythic tales more appropriate for endless Finnish winter nights. “I could tell you the story,” Lintu paused, “but there’s no time, no time.”