I played my excerpts last night for a small audience at a friend's house, and it went surprisingly well. I was nervous, but minus the shakes that I've had for every similar situation in the past. I had a few little hiccups here and there, but they were the same ones that I've been having in my practice so I know what still needs work. One person in the audience was actually familiar with the pieces the excerpts were from and thought I did beautifully. Great sign, but hopefully not enough to let me get lazy.
I still have to work up a couple of excerpts from "Also Sprach Zarathustra" and am not looking forward to it. What a monster piece! I checked out the scores last week and have a recording. I'll be spending a good part of my afternoon studying both so I may get a better feel for how that section should sound. Excerpts in a vacuum sound like just that, and I want them to picture me next to them in the orchestra rather than struggling through nonsense in an empty audition room.
Marriage of Figaro needs to be settled down a bit and Til Eulenspiegel needs to be sped up. Also need to spend some time on the contra with Also Sprach, Death, and Beethoven 5 but I am really happy with my progress. Nice to feel that way instead of scared out of my frelling gourd.