Rehearsal Notes

Dr. David Buck’s Conducting Notes

STUDENTS:  Please use these timing cues to specify specific passages for your practice.

Rachmaninoff – piano alone soundtrack

  • Tema – :11
  • Var. II – :31
  • #5 – :43
  • Var. VIII – :49
  • 4 bf #22 – 1:02
  • Var. XIII – 1:26
  • #35 – 1:47
  • Var. XVIII – 3:24
  • 1 bf #50 – 4:08
  • #51 – 4:48
  • 4 after cut – 6:15
  • #69 – 6:21
  • #70 – 6:28
  • #71 – 6:34
  • #73 – 6:50
  • Var. XXIV – 7:10
  • #75 – 7:29
  • #76 – 7:43
  • Piu Vivo – 7:52
  • 5 after #77 – 7:58
  • #78 – 8:02
  • 9 after #78 – 8:09
  • 79 – 8:15

Rachmaninoff: Orchestra Soundtrack

  • 8 before 23  steady in the piano
  • 4 before 40  I will begin conducting
  • Update: Var. 15 (XV) will be played by piano only; Tacet Orchestra


  • Ms. 416 begin to slow (rit.)
  • No repeat at MM 55-79
  • Cut Letter [I] to [K] (MM 295-320)


  • Begin in 3, then into 1 in 2nd measure (1st full measure)
  • Cut from M 133 to M 179; Update: Cut from M 131 to M 179

Dr. Amy Culligan’s Conducting Notes


  • Opening of the piece should be big and aggressive 
  • measure 4: disoriented character/sound 
  • measure 11: beautiful and dolce (this is the “Prayer for Ukraine”) 
  • measure 16: muted trumpet dissonance is important 
  • measure 29 fermata: clarinets and timpani continue to hold, all other instruments cut off when snare drum starts. 
  • Big contrast between beautiful lyricism and “rude” interruptions 
  • trumpets bring out part at 101 and 102 – triumphant fanfare sound 
  • 6 before the end very big; then, 4 measures before the end: drop down dynamic slightly and change character to very full and rich sound – crescendo into the end
  • Notice the use of different themes: (1) melody from composer’s piece “Moscow, 1941.” (Usually set aggressively); (2) Ukrainian National Anthem; (3) “Prayer for Ukraine”
  • Make contrast between melodies and styles – there are often outbursts and they should sound “outburst” like (mm. 7–9, for example).
  • Accented notes should be played with separation and space
  • m. 29 – be prepared to hold this fermata longer than they do in the recording.
  • Section starting at m. 61 – embrace the dissonance
  • Be conscious of the three main moods/styles: (1) “Russian theme” that is the “aggressor,” (2) “Ukrainian Prayer,” which should be dolce and lyrical, (3) “Ukrainian National Anthem,” which should be stately, marked, confident, and proud. 
  • Section at m. 61 – play into the dissonance and bring out the “discomfort” 


  • It’s all about rhythm and pulse—metronome practice is key! Use opening rhythm as a warm-up on scales 
  • Rhythmic passages should be very staccato 
  • m. 9 woodwinds – strive to be very even with 16th notes (be careful to not slow the beginning and rush the ends of 4-note groupings)
  • 16th notes must be very short and articulate!
  • Make sure to “clip” second note of the melody
  • m. 29 – stagger breathing (breathe when you need to and not when others around you are breathing)
  • Don’t rush the rests!
  • M. 38 is a unison check-point – be looking up!
  • Keep opening rhythmic motive steady and do not compress 16th notes 
  • Placing a small emphasis on beats to help steady pulse is good! The section at m.9 should have emphasis on the first of every 4-note 16th grouping 

Imperial March 

  • Be mindful of articulation marks – you know the notes and the rhythms, but playing the dashes, dots, and accents are imperative! Notice the first measure, as an example.
  • Beginning section should have strong accents and emphasis on beat 4
  • m. 16: huge diminuendo on beat 3 (to piano) and then huge crescendo on beat 4 to forte.
  • m. 21 molto secco and short
  • watch out for 2/4 meters starting in m. 30
  • Be precise in rhythm, particularly the offbeats at 48 – this must be perfectly in time
  • m. 64 – add fp cresc in woodwinds
  • Add Fp cres. Four before the end.
  • Think of beat 3 of m. 16 as a Fp crescendo! 
  • Watch meter changes at m. 29 section 
  • Rhythm at mm. 48–52 – must be precise and steady!  
  • Strong and confident rhythm at mm. 66–67 


  • m. 180: please add a sudden drop in dynamic (think mp) so that we can build 
  • m. 182–183 (and similar measures): please phrase with the line (crescendo when notes go up and diminuendo when notes go down) 
  • no ritard at end – play nice full quarter notes 
  • m. 28 and 36 – notice the longer quarter note in accompaniment 
  • Do not rush. Do not rush. Do not rush!
  • Bowing in m. 2 is “down-up-down-down-up-up” Do this throughout
  • Please practice the opening section with subdivided 16th notes.
  • The section at m. 17 should be light and always have a slight amount of stress and weight on the downbeats. Group of 4 sixteenth notes should have slightly more stress on the first note of the grouping.
  • Section at m. 117 should be molto legato
  • Beginning section must have LOTS of separation between notes—think of notes as being half their note value + a rest of that same value (i.e. think of a quarter note as an eighth note + eighth rest in order to get the separation needed) 
  • Rhythm, pulse, rhythm, pulse! The opening must be precise with the placement of the sixteenth note. 
  • Do not rush! 
  • If you have a slur in m. 2 (or similar passages), please remove! 

Die Meistersinger 

  • Importance of counterpoint – bring out 
  • space between notes (in general) 
  • Add a diminuendo mm. 7–10 
  • double bar at m. 27 – look-up and make sure you catch tempo and correct rhythms 
  • Watch for cue at 31 to make sure we’re all together 
  • m. 40: violins watch rhythm and ties 
  • m. 84: take out “//” caesura – fermata cut-off will go right into beat 4 
  • m. 103: be prepared for the tempo to relax slightly
  • Should be space between dotted quarter notes and eighth notes (see measure 1 as an example) (do this each time this occurs)
  • Add a “dot” to the quarter note on the downbeat of measure 4 (do this each time this occurs)
  • measures 7–14 legato
  • in measure 26, beat 4 will be subdivided. The grace notes should be placed after the “and of 4” as if they are 32nd notes.
  • section that starts at measure 27: watch the rhythm and pulse
  • Woodwinds and upper string that have the flourishes in m. 86 – please crescendo to the top
  • m. 103 will be slightly relaxed in tempo
  • Please add a ritard in measure 116. Measure 117 will be in a broad tempo and slower.
  • Please play the last 4 notes of the piece molto legato (the eighth-quarter-quarter-whole)
  • mm. 27–84 watch rhythm and look up 
  • No caesura in m. 80–will go right into beat 4 after fermata 

Wedding March 

  • Please put a little “zing” on the beginnings of trills (trills start on printed note and go to next note above) 
  • m. 13: trumpet should NOT play the triplets on beat 4 
  • m. 21: please add “-“ legato dashes to quarter notes on beats 2–4 and make them heavy and somewhat broad 
  • Letter B: violins should note sustain dotted eight notes: keep them crisp and light 
  • Letter B: winds and low strings: cut the tie off EARLY so that you are on time for eighth note  
  • Letter B: strings need to start from string and grab string with good articulation 
  • pick-up to “C,” add a dot and accent to the quarter note—this is also a great place to look-up and check-in! 
  • Section at 52 should be very legato and phrased with the line contours 
  • m. 80–84: this will push and then slow down for extra energy and drama 
  • m. 99: bring out parts with descending line (low strings, low brass and woodwinds) 
  • m. 112 section: sf should have a vowel “wah”) sound
  • No repeats in this piece! Take all second endings!
  • measure 7: add staccato dots with accents on beat 3 and 4
  • measure before B, watch and make sure you catch the pick-up and the new section in tempo
  • measure before C: quarter note pick-up should have a “dot.”
  • 9 before “H” needs to have brilliance! Make sure you’re comfortable with all your notes! 

Double Piano Concerto 

  • Beginning needs to be rhythmic and articulate 
  • Full and strong at Letter E – think Rachmaninoff sound! 
  • Take out fermata at BB and turn dotted quarter note into a dotted half note—will continue in tempo. 
  • Soloists can feel free to play out and be even more expressive (and have freedom of phrasing) 
  • Look up and watch for a big cue at Z (after the piano cadenza) 
  • Letter EE has to be so big and beautiful!!! Play out! 
  • Missing fermata—please make sure you have the following (you may need to add, as they are in some parts but missing in others):
    • m. 25 (over whole measure)
    • m. 28 downbeat
    • m. 69 (letter L) on downbeat
    • m. 70 downbeat
    • m. 74 beat 3
    • m. 127 (letter R) downbeat
    • Letter X piano cadenza: fermata on beat 2 of m. 169, fermata on beat 3 of measure 171
    • m. 191 (letter BB) downbeat
    • m. 231 (letter JJ) beat 1
    • m. 234 downbeat
    • opening melody needs crisp articulation. Be sure groups of three notes are even 
    • Dynamic contrasts much be much more 
    • “BB:” take out fermata and hold note for 3 beats, instead 

Haydn Trumpet Concerto 

  • m. 130 viola, cello, bass part should have same articulation as m. 8 
  • Phrase always! 
  • Long held notes or repeated notes should always have movement and direction somewhere
  • Many measures (such as m. 1, m. 3, m. 4) should phrase into (cresc.)beat 3 and then diminuendo
  • m. 8 big and bold; m. 9 light and bouncy
  • trills from above throughout
  • m. 21: lean on first eight note and then taper away
  • brush stroke for string eight notes
  • add crescendo mm. 57–58
  • m. 89 beat 2,3,4 quarter notes should have more of a “dash” than “dot.” Should be on the longer sound
  • add slight rit in m. 100 going into recap.
  • m. 113 should be strong
  • last measure poco rit; put space between quarter note on beat one and next note
  • FIRST VIOLIN note correction! The half note on beat 2 in m. 90 should be an Eb (NOT a C). Please change! 
  • Very quiet dynamic going into the recap 
  • Watch dynamics 

Everywhere I Look 

  • Keep it light and beautiful 
  • Keep your eyes and ears open at all times! It is very important that we accompany the vocal soloist in an elegant and sensitive way. 
  • Watch timing! Look up frequently and be sensitive to changes in tempo.
  • Keep the character light and happy
  • Please put // at the end of measure 4 and also at the end of measure 48
  • Look up constantly! 
  • Think of m. 33 as a sudden tempo change (slower) 
  • Molto rit. In m. 74 

Chamber series pieces (not for this concert)

Clouds that Sail in Heaven:

  • Important to diminuendo 7–8 so that 9–10 can have a strong crescendo
  • Watch the meter change and rhythm in m. 16–18
  • Low brass should take the lead in m. 37 and do nice waves in dynamics (as printed)
  • Watch rhythm in mm. 89–91
  • Bring out the hemiola in the last 7 measures

Over the Rainbow:

  • Bring out moving lines
  • Always play beautiful throughout
  • crescendo m. 26 into 30

Hogwarts Hymn

  • Keep lines moving (it’s easy to slow down and let drag)
  • m. 56: eighth notes brush stroke; melody should sound light and easy