It’s Sunday and I’m going down to London – so, plenty of time to write something!
Last two weeks have been very intensive, recordings, concerts in Liverpool, Zaragoza, Prague and St.Asaph, interviews (as usual, the media suddenly remember about you before first night of the season and than forget again) and meetings, meetings…
Always quite tricky to “wake up” orchestra after vacation, especially if you are recording and every minute is extremely valuable, but in the first days of September we managed to make a very good recording (I hope!) and even finished half-an-hour early - which, of course, got a lot of appreciation from members of orchestra ;)
Then it’s been “The special opening of the season” at the Phil and I’m glad that inspiration and emotions had been with us on stage on this night. I found on the first day of rehearsals, that the music of Prokofiev, his style and philosophy were not too familiar for the orchestra, perhaps because this symphony hasn’t been played for quite a few years (surely it deserves more often performing!).
But on the second day something in the minds of musicians started to move in the right direction and for the concert everyone was fired up! Paul Lewis played great (as usual!) and the piece by Ken Hesketh. Graven Image, sounded to me better than when we played it in the Albert Hall at the Proms because of the acoustic.
Prague… I love this city! Even in its current condition, when quite a lot of facades need reconstruction, and from another side a lot of ugly modern buildings been established in the last few years, this city definitely has a spirit (don’t mix it with Becherovka or Pilsner! J) and a charm. The weather was very cold, but I walked quite a lot and, as usual in Vyshehrad, tried to imagine the life of the people there centuries ago. Our concerts had a great response. There’s a good tradition for Liverpudlians to travel to RLPO concerts in other cities, so we felt a great support! Even in the very tricky acoustic of Dvorak Hall and a complicated travel schedule, the quality of the concerts has been extremely high. And for me it’s been a very rare opportunity to watch the orchestra from the side, in one of their other concerts – a lot of interesting moments to discover!
Yesterday, I was absolutely charmed by St. Asaph – glorious weather, beautiful hills, river, tidy village… I’d love to live there if it would be 10 miles from Liverpool J And they run a quite decent music festival, which we opened and BBC NOW will play the final concert at the end of next week. Even if the Cathedral is a bit too small for Tchaikovsky (after the concert I heard the chat “Fantastic!” - “Great! But it’ll ring in my ears for the next two weeks!”), the enthusiasm of the audience, they were eager for music created a very special atmosphere.
And, finally, today, it was Open Day at the Phil (lucky orchestra, due to working restrictions got a free day and enjoyed the sunshine in their homes!), where I did open an rehearsal with the Phil Choir and had my picture taken with different people at the Hope Street Feast! I enjoy this festival every year because of the special atmosphere, the opportunity to invite new listeners to the Phil and the great farmers’ market - you can buy great food there… and I think now is to good time for ale and pastries which I’ve got there!