What a week! Last weekend the CPO played Mahler 6, and now at last I'm starting to feel mentally recovered. The physical demands of the piece are heavy, and the mental demands are immense. There are so many solos, especially in the last movement, that I found it very easy to get into the intense focus that such passages require. But it really hits you when the piece is finished that your mind needs to recover as much as your chops!
It's a strange part. The first three movements feel like a balanced diet of trumpet playing: strong orchestral style, extroverted lyricism, sensitive passages, soft and loud articulate passages. But in the last movement, even though there are different types of challenges, there are so many short loud solos that things get to feeling a whole lot less balanced. Mahler writes fortissimo very frequently in this part, and often when my instinct said a single forte would have sufficed. But Mahler is the boss, and I guess he was okay at writing for the trumpet. The trickiest day of the week was Thursday, when we rehearsed the last movement first, then went back. Recovery from loud playing is often a more pressing challenge than the loud parts themselves.
We had a really strong trumpet section that made it a super fun week. I should especially mention Jay Michalak and Dan Mills on 5th and 6th, with B-flat trumpets pulled out to A to be able to play those super low Ds.
And now it's time for me to go play The Marriage of Figaro, quite a contrasting day at the office!