From a force of over ten thousand people performing Beethoven 9 to a small chamber orchestra playing an all-Mozart program, we are on to another world of music. The conductor is asking us to make a certain sound, one that is different than last week's, and asking for a different sound can be one of the most challenging things a conductor requests. Sound is so personal. It's shaped from years of listening, years of learning, and years of playing in a certain way. One's sound is a combination of all the sounds they've encountered and maybe something else that they give it. Or at least I imagine it to be so. There are orchestras that have sounds; in fact most major orchestras do. And it is quite easy to distinguish between European orchestras and American ones. But at HPAC, an amalgamation of traditions which invites conductors and guest players from around the world leaves us somewhat undefined. It can be a good starting point, something that can be molded, and this is often the comment that I get from guests: everyone here is so willing to try something new.
So this week are trying a Mozart sound as requested by this conductor. Trying for a sound that includes a certain emphasis in phrasing, a certain articulation. Everyone is trying, shaking off the colossal Beethoven in exchange for something a little lighter.