Six Week Countdown

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This is a purely pragmatic post, detailing how I will divide up my work on repertoire from now until my masters recital on November 27 – exactly six weeks away.

Recital program (not sure on order – also, some of the videos aren’t so great):

  1. Tristan Murail // Unanswered Questions // solo flute
  2. George Crumb // Vox Balaenae // flute, cello & piano (amp.)
  3. Tōru Takemitsu // Voice // solo flute
  4. Kaija Saariaho // Laconisme de L’aile // flute & electronics
  5. Giacinto Scelsi // Ko Lho // flute & clarinet
  6. Andrew Ford // Female Nude // solo alto flute (amp.)
  7. Beat Furrer // Presto con fuoco // flute & piano – there is a video for this on YouTube, but I refuse to link it, because it’s very slow and there are significant rhythmical errors…

So no small project! The program contains just over an hour of music, so it should go for about an hour and a half if I can have a short break (probably after the Takemitsu). I’m not entirely sure it’s a good program, and I need to think a lot more about the order and how I am going to tie things in together – writing program notes will help, which I’ll do over the next week or so.

In the meantime, there is much to be done. There are many notes yet to be learnt (in the Takemitsu and Ford in particular), and all the works need to be subjected to rigorous ‘codification’ practise – meaning I need to make decisions about what’s happening at every point in each work, practise that in taking particular note of what physically needs to happen to create the ‘vision’, and define ‘triggers’ that can easily be scribbled into the score to ensure those decisions are not forgotten in performance. I need to rehearse with other musicians, in the case of the Crumb, Scelsi and Furrer, and also Saariaho and Ford (with electronics). And I need to test the security of the works alone and within the whole program – I need to practise being under the conditions of performance.

So the breakdown of practise focus from now until the recital is:

Week 1: Technical practise focus to get myself back in shape after this break (the last time I played flute was Friday October 7!), with repertoire note learning and memorisation work. Repertoire to focus on this week is the Takemitsu, Ford, Saariaho (mem.) and Murail (mem.).

Week 2: Continue the work from week 1, plus the beginning of detailed decision-making work. Same repertoire focus as week 1, but introduce all other works (Crumb, Scelsi & Furrer) into practise as well.

Week 3: Rehearsals start for the ensemble pieces; the focus moves from technical practise and note learning to detailed repertoire work, with a great deal of decision making and testing. Note learning and memorisation should be finalised at this point. Closely focus on one work every two days, while continuing extra/maintenance work on 2-3 others.

Week 4: The first partial performance practise exercises (sections of pieces working up to whole movements or some pieces), finalising decisions and practising them in, use of self-recording to monitor, as well as securing of notes and memory. Continue the one work every two days model.

Week 5: First full performance practise if possible, plus lots of recording, checking, correcting and securing work. Looking at all pieces, but with a special focus practise session on one each day.

Week 6: Final performance practise, final rehearsals, final polishing, visualisations, tone and maintenance – a shift of focus away from intensive practise and towards ensuring best physical condition. Focus on two works per day until you’ve gone through all works, then dramatically reduce repertoire practise.

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