Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by lynchie, Sep 29, 2004.

  1. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    I had my first rehearsal with an Orchestra since I was 12 today... I'd forgotten how much counting was involved! The way the rehearsal went seemed very different to what I'm used to in band rehearsals - more emphasis was put on style, while I got the impression everyone was intended to learn the notes at home (the way bands should work, but often don't!) but also, I felt quite limited as a trombone player, because it seemed like we were only there for one thing - to blow our guts out in the loud sections...

    So, how many of you have played in Orchestras? And what were your experiences like?
  2. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    I've done some guest work with a local community orchestra when the brass section needed extra players. Your observation about the style of the rehearsal is right on. It might have something to do with the larger number of sections and combinations possible in an orchestral score, so that rehearsing for notes would take too long.
  3. sugarandspice

    sugarandspice Active Member

    I've played/ do play for wind orchestra's (see below!!) and i love it!
    the playing standard is much higher than my band, i'm on my own- i love playing my own part, and my conductor is great at picking pieces with lush euph parts!
    Have been on two tours with the wind orchestra's, which were amazing! been to the royal festival hall with Carrick wind orchestra 3 times (out of four) and i'm playing Rhapsody for euphonium with them this term, its going to be amazing!!

    so just in case you havent quite got the hint......I like playing in the orchestra's!
  4. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    I've played in quite a few orchestras and am always a bit disappointed at the lack of understanding between the brass and the conductor (i.e. the stick waggler doesn't really care about style, he just wants the notes in the right place at the right volume). There is a lot less lyrical work for trombones in the orchestra and a lot of the time I feel we're just there to add volume.

    However, in the orchestras I've played in, the standard of the brass has always been more than equal to the task at hand, however the string sections in amateur and (some) university orchestras leaves a lot to be desired!

    I think, if you were a string player, the rehearsal routine would more closely resemble that in the brass band as you are playing almost all of the time.
  5. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Started playing with the Sheffield Symphony Orchestra this January and have done 3 separate concerts with them, New Years Day Concert and Stravinsky Symphony of the Winds and a Dvorak Cello Concerto.

    Will be playing with the Hallam Sinfonia this weekend playing Shostakovic 5 and Benjamin Britten Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes. This orchestra only has 4 or 5 rehearsals in the 2 weeks before each job. I've done 2 and 1 more to go plus the day.

    I found the counting difficult, 10 minutes to the first note in the Shostakovich 5 and still have problems reading bass clef (on EEb read it as treble and add 3 sharps). Also most of the tuba parts seem to hang around the bottom register, peddles all the way and reading 3 and 4 lines below the stave is not usual on the brass band music I play.

    Good fun though and the more I do i'm sure the reading and counting will get easier.
  6. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    I was brought up in orchestras and lament the fact I don't play in them as much as I used to. I've found it to be a totally different discipline so far as preparation and warming up is concerned. I might be able to get through a hard blow in brass band rehearsal but if 'm not prepared properly for long moments of inactivity in an orchestra followed by a period of largely heavy blowing, my lips can 'go' very quickly! That's just my experiences, though.

    What I do find though, is that with the extra bars rest you get in the majority of pieces compared to brass band pieces, I can appreciate what's going on around me more, and get a decent perspective of the orchestration and how it all fits in with the whole piece, but I suppose I'm interested in that sort of thing!
  7. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I'm interested in the differences in approach to playing and rehearsing in orchestras compared to brass bands in relation to both style and mistakes (when committed). Does anyone else here find that orchestral players and conductors are a little more relaxed when it comes to performance? I'm not trying to say that the passion for music-making has been stripped away, ... but are orchestral attitudes more considerate and conservative, making it a more relaxed atmosphere in the practice hall? (... I think this may apply to both amateur and professonal orchestras).
  8. Chuckles-tuba

    Chuckles-tuba Member

    I have played tuba with orchestras, mainly when I was at college. I can say that I have played with the LSO ( No not London but Leeds Symphony Orchestra!!).

    I thoroughly enjoyed the experiences, someone once told me that a tuba player in orchestra is 90% concentration/counting 10% panic. Infact when I did Symphonie Fantastique I didn't play a note in the first three movements.

    I find it is totally different to banding, particularly in the breathing area. In banding you can stagger if need be but in an orchestra you have to really think about where best to breathe. I really struggled with that at first. Also the counting part, some of the brass players got their papers and magazines out in rehearsals but I didn't trust myself incase I forgot to come in.

    A funny story from my orchestral playing was when I did Peter Grimes by Benjamin Britten. In one scene Grimes is out at see and the only part of the orchestra playing is the tuba which is supposed to be a foghorn. Well in this scene the stage guys decided to really go for it with the smoke machines to make it really foggy and mysterious. The downside was that in their wisdom they placed one of the things right next to me so every night when we got to that bit the foghorn went off closely followed by me coughing up a lung full of dry ice. I couldn't see the conductor and most of the orchestra and they couldn't see me either (lucky for them really!)
  9. drummerboy

    drummerboy Member

    I've done quite a bit of orchestral work, ranging from timps in a Mozart symphony (very, very boring!) to modern pieces by composers like John Adams and Jonathon Dove (much more to do). I do approach it differently to banding, but it is important to do so to achieve, if nothing else, a stylistically correct performance.
    I think the other thing between orchestras and bands is that if you make a mistake in a concert with an orchestra, or say a violin is out of tune, in essence it doesn't matter. You move on because the pieces you play are generally much longer than band pieces. However in a band, certainly towards the highest level (in my experience) you can't make any mistakes if you want to win a contest. So there is a lot more pressure in banding.
    However, having said all that, I hugely enjoy both band and orchestral playing! My experiences in orchestras have been from terrible, so brilliant, but same with bands. I guess therein lies the joys of music making!
  10. jpbray

    jpbray Member

    On the subject of Orchestras, my wife plays violin in an orchestra, both my children have been involved with music centre orchestras, one plays cornet/trumpet the percussion. However unlike banding once a person leaves school there appears to be very few opportunities for instrumentalist to play, since amateur orchestras seem very few and far between, and also appear to have somewhat of an elitist tag to them.
  11. Red Elvis

    Red Elvis Active Member

    Back in my uni days I played in the symphony orchestra , my first experience of non-brass playing.I found it a fascinating experience - on Trombone was often waiting for long periods and then in for the big blow ! In my third year I did some chamber orchestra work - the memory that stands out is playing Salieri's requiem mass in Canterbury cathedral , playing the alto trom part on my Bflat/F and not being able to talk properly for about 3 days with all the high register work!
    In terms of general musicianship though it was great - learning to read 3 different clefs and being exposed to a wider range of music.
  12. Dave Euph

    Dave Euph Member

    I play in a wind orchestra and I enjoy it, but certainly the difference between them and brass bands is quite immense. Note rehearsal is definately not possible on large-scale, but the experience is something worth being there for. Sure, there's enough counting involved (more in a proper orchestra!), but the colours of sounds that surround you add some real spice to the experience (not that I'd say brass bands sounded dull in any way!).
  13. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    For this reason, I must admit, whilst I like conducting brass bands, I prefer directing wind bands. Not the brass bands' fault, of course. (I've not conducted a symphony orchestra yet! ;-))
  14. brassbailey

    brassbailey Member

    I can vouch for your comments,I have played with various amateur and semi-pro orchestras in London and Home Counties for a number of years and there is a definite style to orchestral playing,dare I say a level of 'finesse' even in the loud orchestral passages.However when I get back in Brass Band or indeed Big Band mode it seems 'fff' all the time,well nearly all the time is the norm.
    I must admit I do enjoy the contrast,and to get that full sound with a trombone section without blowing your brain in is almost therepeutic!!!!!!
    Keep it up there's some great works out there.!!

    Chris Bailey
    solo trombone Becontree Brass
  15. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    The thing I forgot to mention was I got thrown in on first trom in my first rehearsal... and they were playing bolero... my lip needs attention!
  16. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Well if you think I'm going to kiss it better, you've got another think coming! :)

    Seriously, though. Not a nice way to start!
  17. ian perks

    ian perks Active Member

    Never played in one but on my instrument BARITONE you can not see that going to happen!!:)
  18. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Now there's a question! Anyone ever played baritone in an orchestra? (and please, no gags about 'I've seen Bryn Terfel sing with one' I've heard them before..... :))
  19. Steve Marcus

    Steve Marcus Member

    Quite true, especially during those ****** (fill in your own expletive) auditions. Example: The tuba solo in the 3rd movement of Mahler 1. That last note goes on forever. Unless one can circular breathe, it's impossible to "play the ink" without a breath.

    Nevertheless, I love playing tuba in an orchestral setting. Although the parts are generally not as technically demanding as brass band parts (particularly test pieces!), the special and unique color and role of the tuba in an orchestra is extremely satisfying.
  20. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I've heard of a baritone being used in Mahler 7, but have been to a live performance. There's also the Janacek "Sinfonietta".

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