Friday, January 12, 2007


So we played the second movement of my composition last night and it was an absolute trainwreck. Needless to say, I'm a bit disappointed.

And angry actually.

This time the trainwreck was not the engineer's fault-- it was the train and the conductor. The transposition and note errors had thankfully been fixed. But the piece was a flaming disaster for the following reasons:

1) conductor took it about 20 bpm too fast
2) oboe player informed me she can't sight read- she learns by 'hearing' the music (and the entire second movement is based on an oboe solo)
3) main percussion player is reminiscent of the kid who can't find the beat in Mr. Holland's Opus- he completely butchered the percussion part which forms the underlying current that propels the entire movement.
4) the ENTIRE flute section played the piece at half-tempo so they were effectively MEASURES off from the rest of the band.
5) half the band didn't read the key signature and continually missed the G-flats
6) conductor NEVER stopped to fix any of this- he just kept on directing (like thelma and louise driving right over a cliff)
7) some of the band had trouble thinking in sextuplets. The entire movement has an underlying subdivision of 6 per 'beat'. That was beyond their comprehension.

There were other glaring errors, to be sure, but those were the biggies.

As the trainwreck continued on and on and on, I felt my face flush with heat. I was completely embarassed and I wanted nothing more than to put a bullet in the whole thing. What I really wanted to do was stop the conductor, shove him off the podium, and take charge of the whole thing.

But no. I just melted into the floor. And apologized profusely for writing something that was obviously so difficult. I got a patronizing, "keep working on it" from the director. Nice. THe rest of the evening I was beating myself up and trying to figure out how to rewrite it so that it could be playable and trying to analyze where I had gone wrong, etc.

Then it hit me. The movement is EXACTLY the way I wanted it. Period. And I don't think I have to compromise my vision because the Durham Community Band couldn't sight read it well.

We played another piece earlier in the rehearsal that was a sightreading disaster-- very rhythmic. but the director took time to break that one down and after 20 minutes or so, it was playable for the band.

Why can't we do that to MY pieces? Because we are just 'reading' them and aren't going to 'perform' them. That's why. So the director isn't willing to put much time into them. Okay, I get that.

But last night I got very pissed off about the whole thing. Like, why wasn't I allowed to conduct my shit? I know its his band, but I know the pieces and can teach them. Or why didn't he stop and get the train back on track? Or any number of other small things that could have helped. Or why does it seem to be such an imposition for him to give up 5 minutes of band time to play a composition that a band member composed? He is very "whatever" about my stuff and quite frankly a bit insensitive to me.

I think I deserve better treatment than "whatever". And "keep working on it". And "it was... nice" type shit.

I stewed and fumed until I finally passed out sometime after 1 am. I am still seething this morning.


At 9:59 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

That sucks.

Given proper rehearsal time (and musicians who can sight-read and keep a beat) I'm sure it would sound great.

At 10:59 AM, Blogger cb said...

I'm convinced that it IS playable, and could sound very nice.


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