Mark Kashper of the LA Philharmonic Talks Trey
In my opinion, it may be useful for us to perform such music occasionally, if only to widen our own musical horizons and also to introduce us to people who would otherwise never show up at symphonic concerts. The orchestrations were all done very professionally and we had no problems reading our parts. Everything was clearly notated and was indeed comfortably playable. There were a few somewhat challenging rhythmical passages but nothing close to those in extremely complicated modern “classical” music we sometimes perform.
Working with Trey
On purely human level, it was a pleasure to meet Trey and work with him. He was at all times a considerate and thoughtful soloist who valued the chance to make music together with us and made sure that we were comfortable with him sharing “our” stage with us. For example, at the beginning of our rehearsal with him, he made an effort and took the time to talk to those of us (including me) who were seated in close proximity to him on stage. He introduced himself, learned the names of each one of us personally, and then asked us to tell him immediately if the volume level of his amplification was uncomfortable for us, which was a much nicer approach than that of most other rock musicians with whom we performed in the past. Needless to say, his amplification was well balanced and he used it in moderation at all times.
It is hard to evaluate the success of any performance from the inside of it (so to speak). My impression of it was that the arrangements made the pieces sound larger and more symphonic (if I remember correctly, Trey even chose to have no drum set in the scores which contributed to a particularly symphonic feeling of the music). Unfortunately, this is not always a good thing when it comes to music that was conceived and originally written for a specific small group of performers. Some of the tempos were too slow for my taste—for example “Stash,” which I think would have benefited greatly from a speedier interpretation, but I don’t know whose fault that was. We could certainly play it faster and I am sure Trey could too but it seemed that for some reason he was satisfied with the tempo as it was. Overall though, the capacity audience were clearly “enjoying themselves” (pardon the expression) in which case who am I to complain?
The reservations I have expressed about making these pieces into quasi-symphonic ones would also apply to playing them with a full group like Phish, but I would not mind at all giving it a try some day in the near future.
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