Today we start rehearsals for the piece by Jennifer Higdon, "Concerto 4-3." I'm looking forward to seeing what it is like. I almost always enjoy learning and performing contemporary music, and Marin does a nice job of finding interesting, accessible music of today. It is a different experience to learn and perform a new piece.
When we play something familiar, there are certain expectations that most of us have when we go into the first rehearsal: the tempos should be so and so, we will slow down in this spot, etc. etc. When we attack an entirely new piece there are fewer expectations. This can free us to make music in a different way. In one sense there is more risk to us as performers. We don't know how well we will perform the piece, or even which sections might prove to be most difficult. We don't know whether or not the audience will enjoy the piece.
On the other hand there is less risk. Since there aren't 15 recordings by famous conductors and orchestras that we and the audience may know of the piece, it is "ours" to make what we will of it, both from the performers' and from the audience vantage points. And if we miss a few notes here or there, will anyone but us know?
Enjoy life's little surprises. Come hear the Higdon Concerto 4-3 this week. And by the way, we are playing great standards by Tchaikovsky and Brahms, too!