Will it be a bumper year for bassoons? Think the rain will hurt the percussion? Will clarinets get enough sun?
Bassoonist Michael Kroth, clarinetist Emmanuel Toledo and percussionist Gwendolyn Burgett Thrasher, all first-chair players, had trouble sticking with the program.
“It all looks so terrific,” Kroth said.
“It’s not just the standard stuff, things that are going to fall in our lap,” Toledo said. “The Shostakovich 10th is a real risk, something for all of us to step up to.”
All three drooled at the prospect of lending a hand Oct. 6 to the Shostakovich epic, one of the 20th century’s great musical canvases. “Every time you turn the page, it’s exciting,” Kroth said. “The slow movement is just poetry, with the flute, oboe and bassoon. It’s so beautiful.”
Toledo called it “a real doozy.”
“There are lots of technical, super-exposed moments that will get me working in the practice room for sure.”
“It’s a big symphony, a lot of stuff for percussion,” Burgett Thrasher said. “It’s one we all have learned for years.”
On the same night, Kroth will take the stage for a rare turn as soloist to play the Mozart bassoon concerto.
“I’ll go from the frying pan into the fire,” he said. “I couldn’t have picked a better concert for bassoon.”
When Kroth saw the line-up for the Jan. 5 concert, he lit up. “Brahms One! Wow! There’s beautiful playing from all instruments. One of my favorite moments doesn’t even involve the bassoon.” He laughed at his own bassoon-o-centrism. “There’s this lovely call between flute and horn. Beem-pa-paaahm, paaahm, it just gives me chills.”
An intricate Mendelssohn overture (“Fingal’s Cave”) Oct. 6 will give Toledo some. “There’s a clarinet duet, a really nice moment, just a slow melody,” he said.
Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet,” on the season closer May 9, drew hand-rubbing from Burgett Thrasher and Toledo.
“It doesn’t get done a whole lot, but it’s really beautiful,” Burgett Thrasher said. She is also excited at the prospect of playing “Millennium Canons,” by Kevin Puts, which is new to her.
All three are looking forward to playing things they have never played before — a pleasure not to be taken for granted in orchestral music.
“I’ve never played the (Samuel) Barber First Essay for Orchestra” (March 2),” Kroth said. He found two other works he had never touched.
“I like that Tim Muffitt is very adventurous and he’s going to go for the more challenging pieces,” Toledo said.
Orchestral musicians aren’t known for high job satisfaction, but our troika of analysts rated their experience with Muffitt and Lansing highly.