Sunday, July 27, 2014

Diary of a Horn Player

Horn Concerto in Bb major, Opus 91

It's that time of year again, folks: audition season. Whether for an orchestra, a band, a school group, or a community group, all of us are gearing up to make big impressions and gain a better seat. This year, I chose Glière's Horn Concerto to tackle. Let's say it's been harder than I thought it would be...

I bought this solo three years ago, when I thought I would need it as a college first year audition piece. When I got it, though, I also picked up the famed Strauss Concerto No. 1, which I instantly fell in love with learning and playing. Long story short, I played the Strauss for my college audition and left the Glière to collect dust in my folder. 

I could only play the Strauss so many times before someone was bound to catch on. My horn teacher suggested that I play something different for my upcoming audition, and I reluctantly agreed. I could play the Strauss without even thinking about it, so learning something new would be a challenge--no matter the difficulty level of what I chose. 

After contemplating buying a new solo, I remembered the Glière that I had left to rot three years ago. Truth be told, I hadn't even looked at it, going solely on the solo's reputation even back when I bought it. When I really took it out to look at it, I got a little nervous. Would I be able to play it? And even if I could, would it be as good as what I knew I could do with the Strauss? 

Procrastinator that I am, I waited until the beginning of July to start practicing. I realize now that that was a major mistake. This piece is a doozy. For two weeks straight, I have been practicing and running sections and all I have to say for it is sometimes playing the first page without a hiccup. And I stress sometimes for a reason. I hold myself to very high standards, and my current ability isn't meeting any of those. 

To help me get through it, I've been listening to this recording by Hermann Baumann. (Buy it here.)


It might not be easy by any stretch, but I've come to enjoy playing this one almost as much as the Strauss. If anyone has any tips or tricks, I'm open to all the help I can get! Auditions aren't for another month and a half, but I'm still really nervous about this one. 

A lot is on the line, and it has to be spotless. Wish me luck, and luck to all you musicians doing practicing of your own! 

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