On Friday evening, I was part of a performance of the Vivaldi Gloria. This is one of those works I have heard forever, so I knew how all the different parts sounded (as a whole, that is). The Gloria bit has been performed by so many school orchestras I could quite possibly play you the first and second violin parts from memory. But Friday was my first time performing the real thing, in its entirety. It rocks.
In May I was part of a performance of Theodora, done by the Alexandra Chorale and conducted by Nathan Aspinall. Same group, but a reduced orchestra - we had just a quintet of strings, plus a flute and an oboe when required. We performed a few other things as well, including Bach's cantata #82 (Ich habe genung) - which was a revelation in itself.
From listening to the Vivaldi, I hadn't really noticed or realised which part does what. Playing second violin in this concert, I relished the importance given to this part. There are some sections when the second violin is just as important as the first, another equal voice. In other parts, the second violin plays more an obbligato part.
The best bit about this performance was the presence of a sensation I sometimes - but not always - get, that awareness of nothing but the music, a bit like staring at one of those 3D drawings.