So we know what a marathon is, and we know what a phone-a-thon is, but what's a "Faune-a-thon"? It's when you play Debussy's "Faune" (Prelude à l'après-midi d'un faune, if you prefer) TWELVE TIMES in the same morning! I should know, because that's what was on the orchestra docket yesterday— luckily for a good cause:
The Portuguese national Youth Music Prizes is celebrating its 30th Edition this year by, among other events, staging its first-ever Competition for Orchestral Conductors, and our orchestra is their "instrument" for the live rounds, three in all. Yesterday was the first live round, with TWELVE candidates, all of whom had to conduct (the first half of) Faune, plus the 4th movement of Beethoven's First Symphony (first half, also).
I am happy to report that it was actually fun, in part because the pressure was more on the candidates than on the flute soloist (for once). Secondly, as there was no time to talk, the approach in rehearsal to this famous and incredibly beautfily work was fairly existential—what's coming next? And thirdly, it was fun because the conductors were of an excellent level (Faune is a work that poses many difficulties and options for the conductor, too!)—another reflection of the amazing quality of music-making going on here in Portugal! Bravo, maestros!