Brett Dean’s “Fire Music” is rhythmically a pretty difficult piece . I used to play quite a lot of contemporary music: Electric Counterpoint by S. Reich, Domino Figures by W. Siegel and many others. All those were challenging pieces, but there always were clear places to refer your part to. In the current composition – it’s all much more complex: constant bar length and tempo changes, often have empty bars in your part, so have to wait and count before entering with your playing again etc.
I spent many hours listening to the recording and practicing along with it. In that piece you have to count a lot and almost all the time watch the conductor. Also need to spot out the most essential phrases and keep them as a reference point in order to enter at the right moment. Sitting in the middle of the huge symphony orchestra it is not that easy and at the first rehearsal (even though I practiced a lot!), I must confess, I was totally puzzled, confused!
Now, after careful detailed work, the understanding of the piece is much better. Out of the cacophony I can now hear the melodies and follow the music. The piece is nice and really reminds of a fire! 🙂