So last night at 1 or 2 am, depending on whether you are a before-bed or an after-I-get-up clock changer, I hit the snooze button on the radio for three 20 minute segments. I had hopes that I would fall asleep and not leave the radio on, which means I am not yet devoid of optimism, I suppose. In addition to a forgettable Strauss waltz I heard Elgar's Enigma Variations.
We're playing the E.V. in concert this Wednesday, so had our last rehearsal on Thursday night. It was pretty close to disastrous . We had serious problems with the transitions between sections, having never done them before. The violins crashed and burned on the variation with the fast eighth-note leaps up and down and all around the fingerboard. (That part reminds me of the second violin raindrop entrance in the 4th movement of Beethoven's Pastorale symphony. They crashed there, too.) The bassoons kept screwing up their entrances, apparently counting-impaired. The principle flutist complained that her pianissimo solo sections were being covered, and Maestro told her that the best we could hope to achieve was a fairly uniform mezzo forte, so she needed to play louder. I take that as an admission that this piece is too hard for us given the amount of rehearsal time allotted.
And I discovered a forgotten variation that just happened to be mostly a cello soli in tenor clef. (No, not Nimrod. The other one.) Evidently we rehearsed it once early on and it went well enough that we never returned to it, so it didn't get "starred" later for extra attention in my practice room. Oy. I'm cramming now.
So being awake last night wasn't a total loss. I hear so much more in a piece after I've worked on it for awhile. Not only that, but I know where all the snake pits are and can take pleasure in the professional navigation through them. I should probably get out of bed and start practicing now.