Thursday, April 26, 2007

Pinpoint Control

Alison Balsom put on a clinic today at the rehearsal for this weekend's CSO concerts, a clinic of clear attacks, soft entrances and finesse. We talk often of the extremes, and tend to be drawn to the fireworks and jolts of pizazz. While she played with all the flair and energy needed for the Haydn Concerto, she also showed the amazing pinpoint control of entrances that marks great artists. You had to hear it!

Those fantastic starts to phrases grabbed our attention as we listened and watched. Arturo Sandoval among many others can dazzle with incredible high range and power, but Alison owns the pianissimo entrance. I enjoyed catching the response of my colleagues. One seemed to shake his head in disbelief. Another couldn't resist open smiles and nods of approval. "Her playing sparkles", said another. She made you want to get to the practice room and test new levels of low decibel playing! Now that's not politically correct in many macho brass circles, but it is an essential requirement for that huge pay check earned by concert soloists of her caliber.

There is always a reason that soloists have careers! Many skills will be on display. You will hear something worth your attending. How many can we note, absorb, and make our own? That is the question. These will be the techniques we can be proud of.

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