Today was the first day of rehearsals on our new set of music for this weekend's concert. I'm in the second violin section this week, and I'm glad - the second violin parts to these pieces are hard enough, and the first violin parts are harder! Our conductor this week is Michael Stern, who is, incidentally, the son of the late famous violinist Isaac Stern.
It will be interesting playing under him. He's funny, a little quirky (but what musician isn't?), and sarcastic at times. Today after the first violins played a passage noticeably badly, he eyed them and said, "Perfect!"
Before we began to rehearse Mozart's "Jupiter" Symphony, he commanded us: "Spines straight, eyes bright, hearts happy!"
He urged us to play with more lightness and a sense of upward motion, but was not altogether pleased with the results so far: "That sounded like milk toast that was put through a de-flavor-izer!"
After orchestra we had sectionals. Our faculty member this week for the second violins is Stephen Rose, the principal second violinist of the Cleveland Orchestra. Given his status, I suppose it goes without saying that he's a brilliant player. As we worked on the second movement of the Mozart, he played the first violin line along with our section, and his tone was so beautiful my eyes actually filled with tears. I felt a bit silly and hoped he didn't notice, but wow... I wish I could play like that. He's also funny; he started one of his sentences like this: "In my humble but correct opinion, two notes under a slur in Mozart..."
After I was done orchestra-ing for the day, I drove to my friend Story's house to make cakepops for her daughter Gwendolyn's third birthday party tomorrow. They were a lot of work, but they turned out so cute!
We were pleased with the results of our labors.
All ready for a party:
Makes you wish you were turning three, doesn't it?
While we were making them, Story was kind enough to let me use her washing machine to do some laundry. Her kids thought my mesh laundry hamper was pretty fun.
It's hard to believe Gwendolyn is turning three. I held that baby girl in my arms when she was just a few months old, and it seems like only yesterday. Look at her now!
Happy Birthday, Gwendolyn!