Saturday, March 7, 2009


A friend of mine raised the idea that Cincinnati might have more volunteer, community based orchestras (at least per unit or population), than any place he is aware of. I am not quite sure how to test that.

I play in two such orchestras. The Cincinnati Metropolitan Orchestra, and the Seven Hills Sinfonietta. In many ways, it it hard to imagine two more different orchestras. One limits itself to the traditional warhorses of classical and remantic symphonic literature. The other plays a couple of "classical" concerts, but also plays a number of pops concerts, and occasional Christmas concerts, etc.

The surprise was that in successive weeks, both would be playing Finlandia, by Sibelius. (Ending the first concert, and opening the next.)

Finlandia is one of those pieces that a Tuba player loves. Loud and lusty, it is one of the few pieces where a phrase begins forte, and then says cresendo as much as possible. Usually, a tuba player has to figure out how to play phrases softly to stay under the strings (after counting 217 measures of rest). In Finlandia, I get to envision lifting the roof off of its rafters.

Still, there is a lot of great literature out there. I wonder how many orchestras you would need to be in to play it all?