Don Juan: Gotta Love This!

Don Juan! In the orchestra world those two words are enough. Everybody knows what we mean. For most of us those words are inextricably bound with one thing and one thing only: orchestra auditions.

First associate LA Philharmonic concertmaster Nathan Cole, as just one violinistic example, gets so involved in the world of Don Juan excerpts that he has managed to produce a 16.5-minute video on the subject.

On a related but somewhat lighter note, here’s Philadelphia concertmaster David Kim giving a master class on Don Juan and telling a student to “fake it” and “shake your head a lot.” (More on orchestral faking in this article from The Strad Magazine.)

Luckily for players of all orchestral instruments, Don Juan is an equal-opportunity tough-excerpt-supplier, and there are related parts and posts for everyone in the orchestra, among them some notable solos. But you already knew that.

What you probably also knew, though we have to admit we ourselves did not, is that Strauss was inspired by a poem written by Nikolaus Lenau (1802-1850) titled, perhaps not surprisingly, “Don Juan.”

We learn from Herbert Glass's program notes for the Los Angeles Philharmonic that a key line from this poem has the famous serial womanizer musing about “the charmed circle of many kinds of beautiful, stimulating femininity…" and thinking to himself, "I should like to traverse them in a storm of pleasure.”

Well, you know...Don Juan.

We hope you will be able to traverse your Strauss excerpts stormily and frequently as you prepare for our first rehearsals. FOOSA starts on June 11!

(Apply now if you haven't already, for FOOSA 2017!)