Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Photos from the West Branch Music Festival

This past Sunday, Odin Rathnam and the members of the West Branch Music Festival performed Mendelssohn's Octet at the West Branch Resort, located on the West Branch of the Delaware River in New York State. It's the "Gateway to the Catskills."

And they'll be playing for you on Wednesday at the John Harris High School in Harrisburg.

Here are some photos a friend of Odin's, Michele Conrad, took at a rehearsal and at the performance (posted w/her permission).

This is the complete Octet during the performance at the lodge.
But behind every performance is a lot of individual practice time and group rehearsal time. Here are some rehearsal moments. Notice how they look at each other to "communicate" and coordinate what they're playing.

Rehearsing can be serious - this is probably one of the hard parts.

But it can also be lots of fun. Even at its most serious, if it's not fun, they wouldn't be in this business.

In an earlier post, I said that Mendelssohn wrote this when he was 16 as a birthday present to his violin teacher and his teacher was playing the first violin part at that first performance in 1825. Odin said, "it very hard - it's like playing a concerto" which means he's in the spotlight a lot. But I told him he's playing the part of Mendelssohn's teacher and the student had wanted to give the teacher something to play that would make him work! Mendelssohn played the 2nd Viola part in that performance and it must have been fun for him to watch his teacher sweat.

Well, here's Odin breaking a sweat! It's hard work!

Here's a shot of all eight players in a rehearsal.

It's a beautiful spot along the West Branch - they'll be performing another concert there this weekend, too.

- Dr. Dick