First times

It's safe to say that A Far Cry is a nocturnal set. Most performing artists are, and after a performance there's remaining adrenaline to expend, celebrating, discussion, winding down to do. And this becomes our normal pattern of life. So having a 9 am rehearsal to get ready for can be tough on any day. I have to get up early enough to warm up my muscles, eat a substantial meal...well, it's not quite as intense as Michael Phelps getting up at 5 am for his 9 am practice sessions, but there are parallels. And tomorrow morning we have our first Open Rehearsal... We've talked about doing this for a while, letting the public in to see how we work on honing our ensemble playing, but doing it is another thing, and I do wish it didn't have to be first thing in the morning! We had a planning session today to decide what to work on, and how to make it accessible and interesting for an audience, while still maximizing the time because we need all the minutes we can get for our concert in the evening. We reminded each other to basically do all the things we say we want to on specific ideas and define our collective decisions before moving on, speak clearly and loudly, encourage each other to try crazy and unusual possibilities, etc. So I think the open rehearsal could prove to be one of our most useful tools, crystallizing our energy and use of time in a way that will help all of our rehearsing. But it's a little like inviting a reporter to your quirky family's Fourth of July BBQ and telling your crazy aunts and uncles and cousins to be themselves, just the best should be fun and who knows what will come out of the mix and across to everyone.

on missing rehearsal...

The other day, A Far Cry had its first rehearsal for our April concerts: Words and the Night. I missed it. (click "Continue Reading!") Please don't feel bad for me; I was in Florida with my girlfriend, lying on the beach, spotting dolphins, and eating delectable hogfish. I can think of worse reasons to miss a rehearsal. And yet, I really did miss it, like one misses the hand-holding of a loved one or Mom's home cooking. A Far Cry is a family, and I missed the reunion.

I wonder: how did it go? At the first rehearsal for our last set of concerts, Remixed Classics, we read Grieg's Holberg Suite, and we couldn't help but whoop when it was over. It was a feeling like riding a classic convertible for the first time in the spring after it's been garaged all winter. This time, were the Palestrina Madrigals soothing and lovely? The Mozart Divertimento chipper and bright?

We have an ambitious program to perform, including a number of original transcriptions, two different concertos, and a bona fide masterpiece, Schoenberg's Verklarte Nacht. Will we rise to the challenge? Meet it? Transcend it? I'm not concerned with the concerts - A Far Cry has yet to play a lackluster concert - and I'm not concerned with my ability to plug into what the group is doing - there are 12 more rehearsals for that. I'm not concerned with anything, really, except for the fact that I missed even one minute of the A Far Cry experience. I can hardly wait for that second rehearsal to come!


A Far Cry had an exhausting, exhaustive rehearsal today, from 1:00-6:30 (with breaks!). Pieces are really starting to come together into interpretations, which is by far the most gratifying part of the rehearsal process. There are still moments, particularly in the slower, newer pieces - Gandolfi and Bartok 2nd mvt. - that we do not completely agree on. To fix music like this, we often talk about trust - trusting each other to come in, and to support each other sonically. When the trust isn't there, the music sounds tentative, unsure, and broken up - the natural flow of the piece is disrupted by our own insecurities. When we trust each other, we can relax and allow the music to unfold. Of course it is easier said than done, but I think we are all learning about each other slowly but surely. The more we play together, the more we trust one another, and the better we sound. Hmm, I wonder if we can schedule any more 5 hour rehearsals... -Jesse