Seriously? Could it really be that I’ve played only one orchestral piece by a woman composer?
I had the idea to put together a list of all the orchestral music I’ve played over the years, thinking it must add up to rather a lot. I didn’t do this idly – it wasn’t just out of curiosity, still less as some kind of Perecquian exercise in exhaustion/saturation. To put it bluntly, I want it to be known that I damn well know my repertoire and, what’s more, that I know it damn well. (Sometimes – sometimes! – you do wonder what impression people have of you.)
Have a look on this blog under ‘Orchestral’ if you want to see what I’ve come up with. Maybe it isn’t or maybe it is a lot, I don’t know. Of course it’s not going to be absolutely exhaustive. There will be some pieces I’ve overlooked, some that I couldn’t be bothered to put up and one or two that I refuse to. But I’d say it’s a pretty fair representation of everything I’ve performed properly in orchestras since I’ve been a grown up viola player. Including choral music too, god knows I play it often enough.
I hope I get to play many of them again (and to really get under the skin of them, too) as well as filling in some of the annoying gaps: it would be nice to knock off the two Mahler symphonies and the one Sibelius, for instance, that get me those sets. I suppose I could even draw up a wishlist: Bartok violin and piano concertos and lots more Sibelius are what spring immediately to mind. And, you know, I’m not sure I’ve really done Schubert justice yet.
Now, to what extent is any of that in my hands? I’m not really sure what I can do to improve the shamingly low number of pieces by women on the list, either. Play with more orchestras, or play more often in orchestras, I guess. And in the meantime, more practice.