What (personal) emotions come out when playing in an orchestra?

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by Andy Mopley, Jul 28, 2018.

  1. Andy Mopley

    Andy Mopley

    Sep 24, 2011
    I am not sure it has been covered before (probably has..) but what sparked the question was seeing this:

    What is your greatest memory of an emotion that was inspired by a performance you were part of? And what "high" does playing now give you, compared to when you first started?

    Regards to all
    viper4000 and CaseyVancouver like this.
  2. CayGee


    Feb 21, 2018
    the emotion of this piece hit me very hard. The instant I first saw the oboe players face I was in tears...thank you so very kindly for posting.

    To answer the question - a friend of mine invited me to a small open mic some years ago in Lawrence MA. I had never done before, and to be straight I must say that oftentimes one will hear some of the most sincere and real music at an open mic. We did several of these as he was basically in charge of the evening. He plays acoustic guitar and sings, good songwriter with a great heart and he has good time. I'm playing my p-bass.

    It was a very small and intimate storefront that's out of business now; before us was a couch, an easy chair and a coffee table and we're squeezed into about an 8' wide area with our backs to the windows. Down yonder there were a few tables in this skinny room and there are only about 8 people in the place. Dale and I played a few of his tunes, and then we stopped for a moment. He starts to play a line I hadn't heard before, and starts to sing. I give him 16 bars before I settle in, and the magic begins to happen. I had never played those lines before, he was making it up on the spot as he went - and of course I was too.

    If felt so right, so easy and so very sincere. We were in the moment...and to be frank I don't remember the song so much but just the feeling of letting go....to borrow a phrase...freeplay so to speak. We looked at each other when it was over and just smiled, because 'we knew'.

    thanks again for posting -
  3. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Personally...panic. Hopefully, it's not the same for everyone.
  4. While I was still a casual player the first time I took part in Mahler's 1st Symphony in our Sydney Symphony Orchestra had me in tears. I had given up my "day job" to attempt being a professional musician and this was the first vindication that I made the right decision. My parents thought that, aged 27, I had made a crazy decision.

    Even now in my semi-retirement and playing in good lower-level local orchestras I can get the same feelings when passages in beautiful music come together really well with terrific expression and rubato, and exactly timed pizzicatos from the basses.
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  5. PaulCannon


    Jan 24, 2002
    Frankfurt, Germany
    NS Design Endorsing Artist
    I’ve had some truly profound personal moments in performances. But the only time I remember actually tearing up was during an encore in which only the pianist and singer played. The rest of the band was sitting on stage.

    The soloist was HK Gruber. He sang a song by Kurt Weill, which was actually a literal soap commercial. But the long piano introduction was played so sensitively by our typically bombastic pianist, Ueli Wiget, that most of us on stage and in the audience were moved to a perfectly bittersweet, nostalgic sadness. The irony of Gruber’s voice and text when he finally entetered, singing an indulgent ode to Algi Soap, made me cry and laugh simultaneously. It was one of the most memorable performances of my short career.

    viper4000 likes this.
  6. CaseyVancouver


    Nov 4, 2012
    Nicely done. Here is Bozo playing the same piece, as a encore.

    Jim Dedrick likes this.
  7. Neil Pye

    Neil Pye

    Apr 13, 2016
    Horsham, UK
    The most memorable ones for me were a recent Tchaikovsky 6 with my amateur orchestra, the final pizzicato note was followed by a full 10 seconds of silence and then a standing ovation. My eyesight went a bit blurred...10 seconds doesn't sound like much, but time it and imagine the silence.

    Berg Violin Concerto with a wonderful violinist called Mandhira De Saram. There's a bass solo right at the end that comes all the way from D# on the extension up to D# in thumb, not easy intervals and very exposed. It links to the last prase the violin plays, and it's sublime. Mandhira turned round and smiled at me as I started to play it, never lost eye contact. I think I fell in love...
    s van order likes this.
  8. Andy Mopley

    Andy Mopley

    Sep 24, 2011
  9. Neil Pye

    Neil Pye

    Apr 13, 2016
    Horsham, UK
    She's a fabulous player, too!
  10. On reflection and hearing parts of it today I still am deeply moved by Elgar's Enigma variations. IMO the Nimrod variation cannot be played, let alone heard, without twisting my heart strings. The work also contains moments of extreme terror in technical difficulty that go right back to when I first performed it 50 years ago.
  11. Neil Pye

    Neil Pye

    Apr 13, 2016
    Horsham, UK
    Well said David, it's a magnificent piece. Terror for us in variations 4, 7 and the finale though
    csrund likes this.
  12. I'll be confronting this marvelous work again this season for the first time since college days (almost 30 years). I'm already slightly terrified.

    Not to stray off topic, but I encountered another Elgar work a few seasons back: Sea Pictures, Op. 37, that is hauntingly beautiful.
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  13. s van order

    s van order

    Oct 4, 2012
    21 years ago, in the bass section for Haydn's Creation. Sublime.
    csrund likes this.
  14. Neil Pye

    Neil Pye

    Apr 13, 2016
    Horsham, UK
    Sea Pictures is gorgeous. I'm doing the Introduction and Allegro for Strings in September with a string orchestra I've started. All the talk of Enigma made me listen for the first time in a while. It really is a masterpiece. Too strong a word? I don't think so
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  15. My orchestra performed the Intro & Allegro last season. The fugue in the second half of the Allegro is treacherous—very challenging to keep the ensemble together. We were close to pulling it off after four rehearsals, but in the performance, we collectively got the yips, and it was a shaky affair. It was part of a concert that was auditioning a candidate for new music director, and I feel like the person who led this program drew a "short straw," so to speak. Tricky piece of music.
    Neil Pye and gnypp45 like this.
  16. Neil Pye

    Neil Pye

    Apr 13, 2016
    Horsham, UK
    We're doing it without a conductor, top notch pros for the quartet, and led from the 1st violin. It's a new venture put together by me and the leader of the 1sts. Could be interesting, but there's enough quality in the ensemble to pull it off - I hope! Great great piece, so worth the extra work
    csrund likes this.
  17. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    My orchestra work usually starts with "No way I can play that" and ends with "wow-I didn't make a complete ass of myself".
  18. Neil Pye

    Neil Pye

    Apr 13, 2016
    Horsham, UK
    I think we all go through that cycle regularly
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