Last night we played at the Legislature, our final concert of the Christmas season. It was a very ringy space, a marble rotunda about 5 stories high, which gave about a full quarter note of sustain after every cutoff. I kind of liked it, even if the ring was mostly trumpet, I thought it worked well for Christmas music.
In playing with the orchestra, recently I've been mostly focusing on overtones. I often have a hard time hearing myself play, with the brass right behind me and another bassoonist next to me, so I push as hard as I can, go for a bright sound, and listen to the texture, trying to find my contribution to the wash of harmonics. Even if my own sound is being lost as a unique voice in the mix (and it's hard for me to know how true that is) I'm still a part of the color of the sound, and I can place my overtones in among the overtones of every other player. Not everything is like this, obviously, but a lot of the Christmas music is pretty thickly scored. I focusing on overtones after I got back from Thanksgiving, where I'd been playing for a couple weeks entirely on my own, no ensemble at all. My first notes with the group were kind of a shock, in terms of not being able to hear myself in the way I was used to. So I started just listening to sound and color, at least in the loud parts.
And this morning, I practiced alone, the first in a few weeks of focused woodshedding before my first rehearsal on Mozart, which could be as soon as Jan 11. I'll post some recordings soon, as a check on where I'm at. Really nervous about the whole thing. I'm worried that it'll suck, or that it'll get cancelled to avoid sucking. Either way would be terrible, though of course everyone will be very nice regardless. The only solution is to do the best I can.