The Cincinnati Symphony was in town last week to play David Geffen Hall...a fabulous performance of Tchaikovsky Symphony #5 (major kudos to Liz Freimuth for a beautiful 2nd Mvt. solo!). I got the chance to hang out with my long-time friend and mentor Charlie Bell during the week, which was inspiring enough in itself, but our conversations reminded several times of a chance meeting back in 1986 when Charlie and I, after playing a Cincinnati Symphony concert in Carnegie, ran into Kendall Betts in a restaurant across 7th Avenue. He was in town for a Minnesota Orchestra concert the next day. When we asked him what he was doing later, he said that he was going to practice. It was already 10:30 pm. I couldn't believe that a professional of his stature, playing in the orchestra all the time, needed to practice that late at night. So I asked him, "Didn't you already play today?" To which he responded that he had, but, "You can never practice enough....I play whenever I get the chance, early morning, after concerts, whenever!" Wise advice from a professional who really knows what he is talking about.
The simple book of 40 Preludes are fun and deceptively amazing tools for working on blowing through groups of adjacent notes, which is a skill that directly applies to our everyday work in orchestral playing. They made their way back to my practice stand when I left both of my copies of Kopprasch across town in my locker at work. My go-to etudes are almost always Kopprasch; these Gallay gems seem to work their way to the bottom of the pile of etudes that I'm working on at any given time. Number 11 is my favorite.