Octet RehearsalJuly 12 2009
We rehearsed the Mendelssohn Octet again today. This was our second rehearsal, and the first with our second violist.
The first half we really worked hard on the first movement. I made the mistake of starting off too slow - it only lead to a lack of energy and more slowing down. We actually played technically better at a faster pace; maybe it forced us to concentrate more. We are still having some issues with soloistic playing. Not everyone is taking ownership of their solos when they have them. Hopefully that’ll change as we get a better sense of what the piece is about. We also spent the majority of our time working through the development section (and the second theme) up to the big flurry that leads into the recapitulation.
We focused on the second movement for the last half. I was extremely impressed at the amount of progress we made on this in just an hour. There is a pretty nasty section in the middle when the octet is divided into two 4-person groups, and everyone is playing in kind of a round. This was extremely difficult to coordinate until we figured out the pattern (i.e. who played after whom). This was also another case of us playing much better at a faster tempo. Here, it probably just helps us maintain our momentum. We still slow down quite a bit in the two sublime melody sections in which different instruments take turns coming in while the chordal progression changes bit by bit.
I tried to be much more open in my playing today, looking all around. I definitely have a better sense of who plays with me and when now. It’s still really hard to figure out who to look at among 7 choices, especially because most of the time it’s more than just two people that are playing together. I also finally hit the high E-flat at the end of the first movement.
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