Sunday, 16 November 2008

Crewe-Stafford-Birmingham...

Between Liverpool and London – once again… It’s been quite a lot of travels in a last few weeks all around the world, and all around the UK – yesterday, for instance, I’ve been conducting in Carlisle, and today going down to London for two rehearsals there. And tomorrow my beloved Brahms 4 back in Liverpool…and again to London for concert in Barbican on Tuesday!
Nevertheless, I prefer to be busy, rather then not doing anything. Since concert in Amsterdam (when I’d written last blog) I’ve been a week in Budapest – this was very interesting and quite unusual for me, I couldn’t understood any words of Hungarian language! It’s amazing, that country in a middle of Europe kept their language almost clear from invasions of neighbours! I found Budapest once again beautiful city on Danube, and since I’ve been there about 10 years ago, a lot has been changed. It’s very interesting mixture of post-communist and European-union things in society there and if you know how to explore, you may find wonderful things and contrasts there. But what really surprised me, is that St.Petersburg (please, don’t think that all Russia!) are much further on democratic-capitalists reforms, for good and for bad! Festival Orchestra, with whom I’ve played in Budapest, is fantastic – probably the best orchestra in Hungary – and have a very different structure, musicians have 2-years-contracts and re-audition after it, they paid by hours/days, and administration of orchestra have right to replace them for a few weeks per year with freelancers. There are also few more differences. This Orchestra is 25 years old, and it’s been first time for them to play 5th Prokofiev Symphony, and they’ve done very well – even in a relatively small (but beautiful!) F.Liszt Hall. Janine Jensen as always, played with virtuosity and it’s been a pleasure again to perform with her!
Right after I’ve been back to Liverpool for one day to rehears with RLPO before touring in Holland and Germany. Tour was extremely successful, audience get rough at the end of performances and musicians tested a lot of different beers ))). Liverpudlians also had a chance to listen to the same programme, and I’ve got a lot of great responses from concerts of Tchaikovsky. I’m glad that we kept freshness, playing his Symphony for about 9 times in a last few months, and last concerts been probably the best!
This week was also very tough for orchestra – two big symphonies, Bruckner 4 and Brahms 4 in two days in a row! And both hasn’t been performed for quite a few years! So, I think they would need a bit of rest afterwards, but it’s operas (completely new music for them) in a next week… I’m glad that Bruckner got a full hall and very warm reception – think this concert had a very special spirit in it, and beauty and lightness of Beethoven with Paul Lewis in first half did a great contrast for catholic-romantic research of Bruckner. We will play Brahms 4 again tomorrow, and I wouldn’t like to say anything before it, rather then very much looking forward to this Sunday afternoon!
One more thing, which I can’t miss in my blog: at the end of October delegation of RLPO had visited House of Common with a special event, dedicated to our educational programme. It’s been very well attended by the Lords and MP, and I’m very glad, that we’ve given a lot of information about what’s going on in Liverpool and particularly in work with children and youngsters. Everyone been very impressed in Westminster, and I think personally, that this is one of the most important parts of our work and progress – invite and encourage as many of young people as possible and give them a chance to be part of classical culture!

13 comments:

Robin said...

Hi Vasily

That's quite a busy schedule and good that you have the energy of youth to manage it! Very glad that it's all gone so well away from Liverpool as well as here. Lack of national critics for recent Liverpool concerts a bit disappointing.

Have to work on Sundays, so couldn't get to Brahms 4 and I hope that this was successful and appreciated by the audience too. Good luck with the Barbican concert this week (no rest for you?) and look forward to the operas next Saturday.

Robin

jill said...

Hi Vasily, I hoped your CD would be number one in the classic fm chart, but no such luck. I checked and it is not in the top thirty! Never mind, it is rarely performed and I have my signed copy so I am very happy.

You certainly do get around. The terms you describe for the Hungarian orchestra are very strict. Even the Phil choir has 3 years between auditions.

I was at the Bruckner and Brahms concerts and enjoyed both immensely. Paul Lewis is just incredibly talented and the orchestral pieces were magnificent. I am running out of superlatives to describe the performances. I feel both exhausted and exhilarated, so can't imagine how you must feel, completely drained probably.

So glad your visit to Parliament was a success. I did not see any write-up in the Liverpool papers. I only read them on-line so hope there was something in the printed versions. I think Joe Riley, particularly, lets the Phil down badly with his half-hearted and sarcastic reviews. When he sees what you have achieved by 2011/12 he will have to eat his words (as we say). It was nice to say hello again last week, albeit briefly. I will be at the Opera and the Emporer and looking forward to both.
jill

jill said...

Dear Vasily, I can't tell you how much I enjoyed the Secrets concert this evening. What a wonderful group of singers and actors, the band was drilled to perfection and you obviously were familiar with every note of the music, your leadership just sensational. I admit I am not normally a fan of "three hours of Italian" but these little gems were magic! Thanks so much. More, More!!!

jill

Robin said...

Hi Vasily

I have to confess to someone like you who loves opera that I've never been much of an opera fan, but the operas last night were great fun and I really enjoyed the concert. I'd also really enjoyed Rothschild's Violin and The Gamblers last year, so if you keep going you may convert me to opera! And it's great that you and the Phil are working with the EOC, which is really good for Liverpool too.

Many thanks to the actors, singers, the orchestra and everyone else who made the evening a success - especially to you for your continuing incredible musical inspiration.

Robin

Robin said...

Hi again Vasily

I mentioned a while ago that it was a pity we hadn't been getting national critics at the Phil recently, so I was pleased to see the review of the operas in today's Times. I always think that Neil Fisher is a very demanding critic, so you should be pleased with the excellent review. Don't know if you want to be described as 'snake-hipped', but he's right on about your 'impeccable and irresistible' waltz-beat!

Robin

Vasily said...

to Robin and Jill:
glad that you've had a lot of fun from operas. It's always a pleasure to work with good young singers, who are free from this late "diva-attitude" ) There has been a few critics from national press, so far reviews are in Times, Guardian, wait for Independent and Telegraph as well.

Gerald Ginther said...

Privet Vasily, Do you have any opinion on the Gramophone top 20 orchestras list? Is the Peterburg Philharmonic still that good?
Also would you consider programming some Gliere maybe Red Poppy suite or Medny Vsadnik?

jill said...

Just wishing you successful concerts in Germany and Siberia (Brrrrrrrr). I see you are conducting on 25 December. What happens in Russia at Christmas time? Hope you manage to see your family and friends and have fun!
Merry Christmas
Jill

Robin said...

Hello Vasily

Another very enjoyable concert on Saturday! It had been good to see all the favourable reviews of the operas, so disappointing no national reviews of Saturday yet.

Join Jill in sending good wishes for your next concert away fixtures and hope they go as well as the home matches - if you have Russian Orthodox Christmas, I guess that's not until 7 January and you'll be conducting in St Petersburg on Christmas Eve - just three days before you conduct the Ode to Joy in the Capital of Culture Closing Concert and before you head off on tour again!

Are the politicians coming up with good money for post-08 programming?

Robin

jill said...

What has happened to all the other bloggers? This is turning into a three way conversation. Vasily's blogs are full of interest, please let's have a few more responses and questions. Come on, Liverpool
(that's the City, not the football club!)you're not usually short of something to say!
As I have been hogging the space somewhat this month, I will say no more this year.
jill

Robin said...

Quite right Jill - I wish more people would post comments. My final ones for this year are: that Jimmy Clark was great in Ein Heldenleben last week; that Vasily's doing things in Germany this week that I hope we'll hear in Liverpool some time; and that, as I can't find out what he's doing with the Novosibirsk orchestra, I hope he's going to tell us!

Looking forward to more contributors in 2009.

Robin

Jane said...

Just hopped in to wish a merry Christmas and a verry Happy New Year! I hope that we can cross each others ways in the New Year too.
I hope next time when you come to Hungary you can conduct in the National Concert Hall at the Palace of Arts. That Hall is amazing. :)
How do you feel at home? Did your concerts went the way you planed them?

jill said...

Hello again everyone. It's lovely to hear from you, Gaynor, and I think I did reply to your first post, just agreeing with you how fabulous the Verdi concert was. Your life with Huddersfield Choral sounds fantastic. I think you can miss one rehearsal to see VP and the Phil, especially as its only an occasional visit.

re. the waterfront venue, Vasily did mention it in some interviews, but I seem to remember someone from the Phil (can't recall who) making quite a terse comment in the press "we are not moving!" and since then suggestions have been for improvements to the present hall. The building at the back seems to be the obvious choice, but am I right saying the rehearsal traffic jams (which forced the orchestra to rehearse in Everton) were the result of more "other" events, which occupy the hall. I seem to remember that a wider programme was one of the conditions for the very large investment some years ago to improve the acoustic and stuff.

Is the auditorium too small at 1600? I thought the main problems were backstage and the foyer bar/parking.

Hope we can do enough to persuade Vasily to sign another contract after 2012 and then, with more support, campaign for a new venue and whatever else he wants. Maybe the Phil management team could let us know their views on future location? The government seem to have acknowledged Liverpool's success as Capital of Culture (judging by their stated plans)so that may help encourage money to be available. How long was Simon Rattle at Birmingham before their new hall was built?

Robin, you are right about touring. We must get the orchestra on show more as well as Vasily. I apologise for jumping in to answer your question and it will be very interesting to hear what Vasily has to say in his next blog.

Well, there's a coincidence, I too have known Joe Riley for about 30 years. He used to work for the Crosby Herald and review the amateur theatre shows at the time (which were many). I know he won't change, he's too comfortable at the Echo, but don't you think, if you lived in Manchester, Preston or North Wales and read his articles, you might say "that doesn't sound marvellous, I won't bother going."

I saw the announcement of the trip to parliament, but not a report after and, as you say, no pictures which was a shame. I video would have been brilliant, of those little scally kids from Liverpool conversing with the peers with their "Surrey drawl" hee hee!

I take back what I said about Warren Bradley. The truth is that I admire him enormously for being consistently and resolutely positive throughout the build up and year 2008 (unlike some others in the town hall) and I don't think he has had enough credit for the success of the year.

I await Vasily's next post with great interest. I have e.mailed the Phil and asked them to return the blog link to the front page as a first step to getting more people involved. I will be watching The Culture Show special on Monday (7pm BBC2) to see what they say. I hope they don't just concentrate on Simon Rattle.

You seem to be very knowledgeable about music, Robin. I am not especially so (although I love it and do sing in a choir) but I love Liverpool and always want the city to have the best and be successful.

If anyone else reads this, please post a comment.

jill