Saturday, April 17, 2010

Catch-up


While I've posted a number of Rochut recordings and one Telemann Fantasia over the past couple of weeks, I just noticed that it's been some time since I've posted an entry with actual words. I'll take this opportunity to get a little caught up.

Rapid fire Rochuts

If you're paying attention to the dates on these posts, you'll notice a gap in activity followed by two quick Rochut recordings (14 and 15) posted on successive days. The thing is, I had to post 15 quickly to wash the taste of 14 out of my mouth. The recording for 14 came out okay (I'm rolling my eyes as I type okay--perhaps I'm being too kind); working my way through it was a humbling experience. I've written before how we brass players tend to find our comfort zone in those nice flat keys and tend to loathe those dreaded sharp keys. I know in some cases Rochut changed Bordogni's original key to make an etude more challenging. I believe number 14 is one such case. This otherwise relatively simple piece is in the key B major (5 sharps). The thing is, I thought I had gotten myself past all that. After spending years diligently avoiding all the sharp-keyed Rochuts, I one day decided if I wanted to be a good player, I needed to embrace the other half of the tonal spectrum. So I went back and boldly confronted all those etudes in A, E, and B major until the sight of a cluster of tic-tac-toe boards didn't stimulate the urge for a xanax. My time in the trenches forcing myself to work on sharp keys did pay some dividends--the notes weren't a problem at all--I didn't have any problems with any fingerings. It's the relationship between the notes that killed me this time out. If this were in Bb instead of B, it would have been a walk in the park. That one little half step made all the difference in the world. Instead of a walk in the park, every interval felt like a treacherous step on a high wire.

It shouldn't feel that way, and I have only myself to blame. While I did spend that time in the trenches with those less-than-comfortable keys, I haven't necessarily been maintaining. And that's why we['re supposed to] practice our etudes.

Telemann

One more Telemann Fantasia will get me to the halfway mark. The one in the queue right now is number 8. I'm doing some homework to get some ideas on ornamentations--particularly in the last movement which seems to beg for them. I expect it will be a few weeks before I have this one worked out to my liking. I'll post more on that as the process unfolds.

The upside of complete system failure

The other day my laptop (which has been hobbling through a slow death the past year) greeted me with a blue screen and the heavily dreaded and much documented mup.sys error. As of yet I haven't gotten the system to boot, so I don't know if I'll ever see the data on my hard drive again. While I've been pretty good about doing regular backups, my data files and finished WAV files for 2 of the Rochuts aren't backed up (along with a recent transcription I did of a movement for a Canonic Sonata by Telemann). I believe I'll be able to get into the system with an XP boot CD. Unfortunately, I've torn my office apart and can't find mine. Now I begin the process of asking everyone I know: do you have an XP boot disk? We'll keep our fingers crossed that I can get a few files off the machine without having to lay out excessive piles of cash.

So, what's the upside? The upside is that I got a new laptop. While I could do multi-track recording on my old laptop, eventually the machine became sufficiently hosed that it made the process of multi-track recording a somewhat prohibitive hassle. Now, I'm looking forward to taking a look at some recording projects I had put on hold (including the afore-referenced Telemann Canonic Sonata).

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