It takes a lot of people to put together Respighi's Roman trilogy, our conquest of the week. I don't know the exact number but it must be close to eighty. There are two harps, an organ, a celeste, a piano, and a slew of percussionists and brass players we don't normally see. There are trumpets and trombones hanging from the walls of the hall and playing from lobby. The tech crew rivals that of any opera and the addition of a recording label crew has filled all our extraneous space with cords, cables and microphones. They even gave us rice crackers as a thank you for their presence (or so I assume the reason to be). When I commented to Frank, the man in charge of all the tech operations and equipment management, what an amazing task he was undergoing, he answered by letting me know that if I needed earplugs he'd be happy to get them to me. I had already procured them the first time he made them available, though.
On top of all of this, Friday marks the anniversary of the Great Hanshin Earthquake, for which HPAC was formed as a symbol of hope in the aftermath. Although I have no idea the extent of the ceremony that is involved, I do know that we will be performing a short pre-concert chamber music memorial concert before the orchestra performance, and that the orchestra will be performing an additional piece in commemoration on that day. Sado-san, our conductor, has been tireless as usual in his rehearsing, managing the exact position of offstage instruments and coloring different orchestration effects from the house like a stage director during tech week. He is precise in his conception of the sound and effect that he wants and patient in our human efforts to achieve it. And I imagine that his time outside rehearsal is carefully divided into other publicity obligations of the week, meetings at HPAC, and his own musical preparations.
It takes a lot of energy to do what we are doing, individually and collectively. And it is exciting to be embarking on such a large project together. The week has been filled with many people, many sounds, and many considerations, and two more days until the culmination begins.