It certainly has been an eclectic summer, musically speaking! From Tchaikovsky to Michael Jackson to the Eagles and NOW, this week, to famed Baltimore composers Philip Glass and Frank Zappa. I practiced the Zappa music today; it looks like he probably admired Bela Bartok (I do too), as he uses lots of irregular meters, snap pizzicati (where we pull the string hard enough while plucking it to make it hit against the fingerboard of the violin) and glissandi (obviously sliding between notes).
But before we play Glass and Zappa Friday night, Thursday night we FINALLY get to perform Gershwin's Porgy and Bess. We were supposed to do it (three times, I think) in February, but there was that little blizzard or three we had. We lost all of those performances.
I love Porgy and Bess; besides all the wonderful songs that became so popular, there is lots of less familiar music that Gershwin composed in between the songs. After all, opera is mainly a piece of music that just happens to have a plot and characters, right? So while characters are performing some action other than singing, or the strange changes are occurring, instead of just waiting, we in the orchestra play some pretty cool stuff. Actually it is some of the most intense symphonic music that I know of by Gershwin, very moody and dark, action packed. Since we often perform only the songs from the opera, we don't get to play these fairly serious sections nearly as much. I am excited to rehearse and perform them this week.
And to top it all off, Marin will be back (a rarity in the summer!) to guide us through all the music Thursday and Friday. I'm looking forward to seeing her again.