I finally got around to listening to the recording of my 5/6 recital. Lots of busyness combined with a strong dislike of listening to myself on recordings put this off for a couple of weeks.
However, with a recital at the IDRS Conference looming in 10 days, I thought it was high time to give in and have a listen.
The Orchestra played a concert yesterday in Carmel, Indiana at the new Palladium Concert Hall. This is a new hall that opened in January of this year. I had some downtime during the second half of the concert and used that time to listen.
I tried to listen for the over-all effect of each piece, avoiding focusing on mistakes, unless there were several in one place. I've found it's helpful to wait a few days or a week before listening because, if I don't, I tend to focus on the little things that went wrong. What I'm after is the big picture when listening -- what the audience hears, perhaps.
Did the Debussy (Syrinx) have the right atmosphere? (Yes, for the most part.) Did the fast notes speak clearly or were they rushed in places? (Mostly good) Was the pacing of the phrases, silences effective? (Yes.) Was the tone quality flute-like? (Pretty close.) My transcription put the bassoon in the middle and high register exclusively, where the bassoon has a less reedy sound.
It would have been tempting to transcribe this for the bassoon's low register, since that is the tessitura used by Debussy for the flute. This would have been a big mistake, since the bassoon and flute have opposite tendencies in the low register. The flute is mellow and dark down low, whereas the bassoon can be bright and harsh.
The recording confirmed my impression that the Sciortino went the best it's ever gone. There are still some things to clean up and to be careful with, but many of the effects (multi-phonics, shakes, etc.) came off very effectively.
The Bernaud sounded better than I remember it going! Randy is a master at balancing the piano with the bassoon without losing authority in his playing. I noticed some tone quality and pitch issues I'd like to work on in this, though. My tone spread a little more readily at extreme ranges and on the loud end of the dynamic range. Also, I will need to continue to woodshed the technical passages in this to make sure nothing slips.
"Sortilège", went quite well. Margi was very pleased as were Randy and I. It was a challenge to make a set of free variations flow together cohesively with all the tempo changes and starts and stops, but I think we made it happen.
In general, I thought my tone quality was a little on the bright side in places in the recital, although I still managed to keep a lot of core or substance in the sound. I'd like just a little more covered sound, though.
I found from listening, that I don't need to work to produce ringing high notes so much. They will be powerful AND beautiful if I use a little less effort ("Use only enough effort to get the job done, but DO use enough effort"). A little roughness in the tone is OK in pieces with titles like "Hallucinations" or "Sorcels", but I wouldn't want to have that be my best effort at tonal beauty!
When I heard pitch differences with the piano, I was flat. This means I may be a little overzealous in trying to avoid the bassoonist's usual trap of sharpness. I have a friend who likes to say, "I'd rather play sharp than out of tune!"