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29 October 2008 @ 12:32 am
In which I do not whine.  
The Jeff and Erin Show, Episode 327:

Jeff:  I was worried about you after we talked earlier.

Erin:  Yeah, I was pretty upset... I'm sorry I got off the phone so abruptly.

Jeff:  Well, I was afraid I was insensitive.

Erin:  No, you didn't say anything wrong!  *pause*  We weren't on the phone long enough.

Both:  *pause* *snicker*

Jeff:  Yeah, good point...

Choir geekery:

Tonight we rehearsed with our orchestra for the first time, packing them into our usual choir rehearsal room, which was ridiculous and a little entertaining.  We also had our soloists present.  I'm iffy on our soloists.  Both are addicted to vibrato, and not the nice kind, either.  They have vibrato that wavers way out into the ether of "no particular pitch whatsoever".  Garrr.  But they're technically proficient and liable to sound decent in the show space, so I'll try not to be a snob...

Tonight was also an interesting and new experience for me, rehearsal-wise:  I have never performed for the first time with an orchestra while being directed by the Chorale director.  It was amazing.  The Chorale coasted through, and Tsolainou had to spend lots of time in nitpicky spots helping the orchestra... there were several spots where she went twice as fast as their own director had been leading them all semester long.

Now, our orchestra is one damn fine group, but it's hard to describe the smugness a choir feels in a situation like that.  To, just once, not have to adapt to a new director and appear completely goofy and clueless in a dress rehearsal?  To, just once, not miss half the cues because the director gives them differently?  To, just once, not have every tempo feel odd?  Priceless.  And all because apparently, Tsolainou is awesome enough to direct an orchestra.

In-depth Brahms geekery which I refuse to cut because, frankly, it's way more interesting than all the whining I've been doing lately:

Movement I:  I have it memorized.  It's always lovely to have something very easy to start with.  I sing this one in my sleep at this point.

Movements IV and V:  very pretty, very BO-RING.  Well, not really... it's like acting, though.  It's SO much fun to act a part where you can cry and scream and make a huge mess, but it's more technically difficult in many ways to act like a normal human being.  Singing is the same way for me.  I have to focus on tiny nitpicky details like tone and inflection during IV and V, because I'm not wailing all over the place like the dead rising.  IV is a waltz!  A freakin' WALTZ!  Only Brahms could pull that off in a requiem.

Movements II, III, and VI:  all big showy dramatic pieces with screaming and sturm and drang (and fugues).  These are my favorite bits.  During VI tonight, Tsolainou actually asked us to sing with desperation, "as though your life is meaningless".  And people wonder why I love singing requiems.  It's like free therapy, people.

Movement VII, the last one:  it has been so hard for me to like this one at all.  That's because it's a physically strenuous movement, but not fast or loud or furious like the other really hard ones.  It has lots of long, graceful, beautiful, difficult places.  Doing movement VII after movement VI is like following a 400 meter hurdles with a single, impossibly long yoga pose.  By the end of it, I'm sweating and ready to die.  But that's nothing; I'm an alto... I'm shocked that I don't see sopranos dropping off the back of the risers during VII.  It's got to be some kind of level of soprano hell:  sing six movements of a requiem, and then the last one keeps you on long notes that absolutely have to be beautiful, and you might as well rent an apartment above the staff because that's where you'll be the whole time.

I'm almost to the point where the spots where I have trouble are just going to have to stay that way, and if I get them right by accident during the performance, awesome, and if not, oh well...

Semagic/LJ keeps giving me server errors, btw.  Anybody else having this problem?
Current Mood: mellowmellow
bediverebedivere on October 29th, 2008 02:32 pm (UTC)
All in 12 weeks, eh? Either you guys are really good, or your choir director is a slave driver.. or both? :)
Wiseacreewin on October 29th, 2008 03:45 pm (UTC)
Er... I'd say our choir director is a combination of slave driver AND really good. As far as us goes, I think we're really good? It's so hard to say. So much of what a choir is capable of is directly determined by the leader.
Davidkrinchan on October 29th, 2008 03:04 pm (UTC)
The sad part is that I got all of those jokes, including "renting an apartment above the staff".

I had that issue in a solo I got during Middle School. I was a clarinet, which normally just plays around in the staff. However, for SOME reason, our band director thought that first chair would love to play a solo that consisted of eight/sixteenth notes in 4/4 that required me to keep that damned lever on the back of the instrument down the ENTIRE time running up and down the scale with that loud squealy jazzy sound. *huff huff*

And people wonder why I can suck dick like a hoover.
Wiseacreewin on October 29th, 2008 03:43 pm (UTC)
Радаdigitalemur on October 29th, 2008 03:59 pm (UTC)
I hadn't particularly wondered about that, but it's interesting what it is now making me wonder about various clarinetists I know!
kenjari: pianokenjari on October 29th, 2008 05:44 pm (UTC)
So, at the first BMOP concert I ever went to, I was sitting quite close to the stage. The first piece was a work by Berio for bass clarinet and chamber ensemble. The clarinetist was great, but I just couldn't look at him when he moistened his reed during the pauses. Let's just say he looked like he had a *very* good relationship with his instrument.
rogue equestrian: Darth Randelvinborn on October 29th, 2008 05:19 pm (UTC)
I don't think I've ever heard that correlation to clarinet playing. I always wondered if they had something good going for them (ie: trumpets are good kissers, as are tubas though I'm not sure why)
kenjari: pianokenjari on October 29th, 2008 05:45 pm (UTC)
One of my favorite musician jokes addresses this:
A girl went out on a date with a trumpet player, and when she came back her roommate asked, "Well, how was it? Did his embouchure make him a great kisser?"

"Nah," the first girl replied. "That dry, tight, tiny little pucker; it was no fun at all."

The next night she went out with a tuba player, and when she came back her roommate asked, "Well, how was his kissing?"

"Ugh!" the first girl exclaimed. "Those huge, rubbery, blubbery, slobbering slabs of meat; oh, it was just gross!"

The next night she went out with a French horn player, and when she came back her roommate asked, "Well, how was his kissing?"

"Well," the first girl replied, "his kissing was just so-so; but I loved the way he held me!"
Wiseacreewin on October 29th, 2008 06:01 pm (UTC)
HA! Excellent!

(I used to have the worst crush on a French horn player in highschool...
Wiseacreewin on October 29th, 2008 06:02 pm (UTC)
Not to be snide, but his particular gifts also have a correlation to stomach pumps. *evil grin*
Davidkrinchan on October 30th, 2008 03:14 pm (UTC)
That's only half the battle, hon. The other half is maintaining a seal around the object of your affection with firm yet silky lips for as long as it takes. If said object is a clarinet, it's a very delicate balance. Too firm, and you choke the reed because it can't vibrate. Too soft, and you loose force because air leaks out the corners of your mouth. After about a half-hour of playing, you start to go numb, so you have to figure out how to play while you have no lips.

The worst part is that playing the clarinet's upper range requires an insane amount of lung pushing. To get the reed to vibrate that fast and loud enough for anyone to hear you have to really really blow. I had to do a lot of work with the director on that piece because unlike most other stuff we played, rationing your lung capacity really came into play. You had to figure out where you could afford to breathe in, then you had to figure out how to get to that point. I'm sure you're familiar with all that, being in chorale. However, for most wind musicians playing at the amateur end, it's not an issue that comes up because you can usually feel it out.

Of course, I was 13 at the time, so it was probably harder than it is for most adults.
Davidkrinchan on October 30th, 2008 03:15 pm (UTC)
GAH, all of this makes me want to go buy a clarinet and get back to where I was so long ago. Damn you people. *wanders off to ebay*
Радаdigitalemur on October 29th, 2008 03:58 pm (UTC)
and then the last one keeps you on long notes that absolutely have to be beautiful, and you might as well rent an apartment above the staff because that's where you'll be the whole time.

I'm quoting that. We don't have anything that bad for the Sop I's in our repertoire, but they would still know what you mean.
Wiseacreewin on October 29th, 2008 06:00 pm (UTC)
Hee. Yeah.

I don't know exactly why, but Brahms has a serious love affair with the alto section. I've never had so much interesting, range-ful, and flat-out gorgeous moments in a single piece. (I love him back.)
Xandre: Xandre - MDRF 2008ayakashi_fox on October 29th, 2008 04:13 pm (UTC)
I just experienced two days of server errors for trying to edit posts in my history.
Wiseacreewin on October 29th, 2008 05:59 pm (UTC)
It's odd because I just have to press the button twice to get it to post, that's all. Why get an error once and not the second time? (I should know the answer to things like that, I'm the programmer...)
Xandre: Jim says Orcus sux.ayakashi_fox on October 29th, 2008 07:22 pm (UTC)
It wouldn't let me edit or post for two straight days. Now it seems to be okay.

I figure the gremlins were having a party.
rogue equestrian: Merlin: Merlin study bookelvinborn on October 29th, 2008 05:16 pm (UTC)
the sopranos are dropping off the back of the risers. They're just too shot to hear their sounds of distress, and we all pretend that they're just sissies. :D

the only thing more grueling is Handel. Who hates us and wants to see us die.

I like the ones you don't. I don't care for the longer movements. Especially that one that goes on FOREVER. I have no idea which one that is. I'm not sure I really even know how many movements there are.

LJ servers have been tetchy of late, so you may have been running into some of that.
Wiseacreewin on October 29th, 2008 05:59 pm (UTC)
VI is the one that goes on forever. II just FEELS like it does because we keep singing the SAME THING over and over for the first half of it.

We both know you're more about the pretty and I'm more about the drama, so I guess that makes sense that we like different movements. :)
rogue equestrian: DH:: dance twirlelvinborn on October 30th, 2008 12:12 am (UTC)
Hee! I like that comparison :D So very true
ryokoturdburgler on October 29th, 2008 05:21 pm (UTC)
So I decided to venture into the land of youtube to see what this bidness was that you're talking about with Brahms Requium and screaming and annoying soloists with too much vibrato and stuff. (btw, every time I hear "Brahms" I automatically think of KareKano)

Here's one of them:
Brahms Requium, Mvt 6 part 1

I approve of all of the oboe solos. :D

And holy crap, that Baritone soloist -- I could totally see him gnawing on a chicken leg with a mug of ale and wearing bear-skin cape and such. (and by the by, jeffro887 has posted all other parts of that particular performance/group, if you or anyone else is interested)

Anyhoo, sounds like fun! (and exhausting...)
rogue equestrian: Merlin: Merlin study bookelvinborn on October 30th, 2008 12:11 am (UTC)
holy cow! having not gone out to listen to this requiem, I had no idea just how FAST we are going on this thing!!

I quite like the Baritone.
Wiseacreewin on October 30th, 2008 12:34 am (UTC)
Holy crap, that is TOO slow. The recording I have on iTunes is much faster, but still a little slower than we do it. (And they speed up, which is interesting.)
Wiseacreewin on October 30th, 2008 12:36 am (UTC)
I LIKE that baritone. Very nice voice!