Playing “The Hard Stuff”

As an audition-free orchestra, NewWSO encourages players of all musical abilities to join us in making great music together. However, we do not compromise on repertoire, playing the same editions of music that professionals orchestra play whenever possible. We believe this is part of the reason amateur musicians are drawn to this orchestra, because where else can “hobbyist” musicians try their hand at playing Beethoven Symphony No. 5? Not many places!

“Hard” is a subjective term. In the NewWSO, one musician may find a particular piece easy, where another might find the same piece difficult. However, most of our musicians currently agree that a fairly new piece in our repertoire, the Brahms Symphony No. 4, Mov’t 2, has difficult spots for all instruments. It’s Brahms, after all! But the orchestra musicians voted it in because it is a great and beautiful piece of music that they are willing to work on.

In this video, Ben shares his philosophy on how playing “hard” pieces of music helps us improve other pieces that we play:

What are your thoughts on the level of difficulty of NewWSO pieces?

2 thoughts on “Playing “The Hard Stuff”

  1. Rosanne V.

    Ben,
    I have been coming to the rehearsals and think it is great that you challenge your orchestra with tough music. The Brahms and Dvorak are two pieces I would have never given my orchestra to play at all because we have so many intonation issues that need to be addressed. Althouth I am NOT a fan of Brahms at all, and trust me, people think I am nuts. I think that the music is very difficult and I think the the compositions are all over the place, I do respect the music. I do not enjoy playing it, but I also respect your decision to do it. I really cannot comment much because I don’t know how many rehearsals I can actually make because I come from so far away, so I am speaking to you, I guess from one colleague to another, having met you and Belinda, I absonlutely love the two of you and what you have done with your orchestra. Having said that, I would prefer not to struggle with Brahms, but on the other hand, it does help me or anyone for that matter become a much better player. So, yes, good move. :)

    Reply
  2. Jonathan K.

    Thanks for the perspective. I think its a great way to view the hard stuff.. and its one of the things that I love about this orchestra. You are challenging us, and most people like to be challenged, and we Need to be challenged to grow as a musician. I also like that there is a variety of types of music you have brought into the repertoire. The Brahms 4th being higher on the difficulty scale. man, so is that Dvorak.
    I think/hope the quality of the music we are playing will attract more members and audiences alike.
    Regards – JK

    Reply

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