22 July 2014
Here's my latest musical indulgence. I've joined a local amateur orchestra as one of three double bassists. I have much to learn about bowing, reading, dynamics and the rest, but I'm three practices in and I'm having a great time. We are working on the program for the next performance, but sadly, I will be out of town. When it's going well, I drool over the second movement of Beethoven's Second Symphony which is so simple but so beautiful. A Delibe has some lovely dance movements; a Gilbert & Sullivan medley is just immense fun; Ketelbey and Anderson are simple and the tango is a nice change in bowing; the Saint-Saens March Militaire is a good, lively read. The hardest work is a series of variations on Hadyn by Brahms. I love the plucky pizz of the main melody, some hard syncopations and rolling semi-quavers in a few variations and the ballooning intensity of the 5-bar ostinato passage in the final variation. As for differences from jazz, I find it's more analytically relaxed (no need to create the tune as you're playing it: the dots are already there on the page), even if technical things like reading and bowing and intonation are a challenge. But I'm new to it and I guess we are nowhere near playing the hardest repertoire. The Brindabella Orchestra is associated with U3A but is also open to other ages. The pic shows the orchestra down on numbers, perhaps due to school holidays and a cold spell.