Sunday, 22 February 2009

Back on track

It’s been exciting three weeks in Liverpool – full of fun and good news! I’ve been really glad to see so many people in the concerts and enjoyed to play music with brilliant soloists! And, of course, I’ve been happy to know that city will give us the same budget as in 2008 for each of next two years.
So, plenty of pleasure (which is quite rare in February) and encouragement for 2009-2010 season.
This month started from Rhapsodies concerts, quite tricky for conductor and orchestra due to different characters and stiles of 4 pieces, especially Enescu and Ravel, which RLPO haven’t played for quite a few years. But we like a challenge and I think audience in Liverpool and Preston enjoyed concerts quite a lot, as well as Embrace from Kirill Gerstein, our Romanian (as some people think!) soloist )))
Week after in “With love from Vasily” programme we had even more challenging repertoire, in fact, I think Prokofiev is one of the most difficult (but adorable!) composers to play due to strict articulation, balance and intonation problems. But, of course, English-Italian love story in his ballet give a lot of help in emotional side, and I’ve seen even some smoke over the strings in a last movement of our performance! Percussion players been excited by Carmen-suite, and Chausson in a first half was great, I think – by the way very underestimated French composer!
And last week with classical orchestral repertoire was very interesting in term of progress of orchestra, in my point of view we made a lot of improvement since last year (or two?), when we’ve played Classical Symphony last time, and Mendelssohn Reformation was a real discovery and unexpected fun for musicians. Those of you, who missed soloist this week, really missed a lot – doing her UK debut, she’s been stunning, and, I think, will have a big star very soon! And, of course, you’ve missed “orchestra bounce”, which we rehearsed with such a precision ;)
At the moment I’m in a train to London – what an improvement in their Sunday’s schedule, just 2.15 now! Full day of rehearsals with Guildhall and Heldenleben tomorrow, concert on Wednesday in Barbican, looking forward!
And at the end would like to ask you about two things, which are very important for us at the moment (we are at the very last stage of cooking next season):
- do you think current economic situation will have a big impact on the Phil’s audience? I mean, do you think people will try to cut their expenses by not going to the Phil anymore?
- Which day and time of the day (exact hour) is more suitable for you to attend a concert?
P.S. I’ve been quite amazed, how many people read this blog, but also amazed that a very few of you write something… Please, don’t be shy!

Monday, 2 February 2009

Near the Capitol Hill

Here I am, sitting in Washington Airport on my way back to Europe. As usual, America gave a lot of moments to think about…
First of all, when I’ve arrived to Milwaukee last week, it’s been truly amazing, how great are American story makers – what they did from obvious inauguration of new president, was remarkable! Few words of oath and couple of handshakes became a huge event for 1,5 millions people at the streets of Washington and many millions in States and worldwide! Even Yo-Yo Ma played his cello in sub-zero temperature ))) And in Milwaukee, which is quite far from capital, at the morning people cued into bars, restaurants and concert hall to watch TV-translation. Perhaps, it’s been a good reason to have a day-off ;)
It’s been a great week there, with a very good and strong collaboration with orchestra, and a lot of people from audience decided to listen Sheherazade second time at the second night. Instead of some tensions with soloist (you can find the story in internet), there’ve been a lot of magical moments in Chopin concerto too! And, of course, I did enjoyed proper winter with a lot of snow (down to -15!) and famous Milwaukee’s beers.
This week I’ve been in Baltimore, doing Shostakovich 8, Liadov and Tchaikovsky concerto with Stephen Hough. And it’s been highly successful too! Very strong chemistry with orchestra, great response from audience and a lot of excitement overall. Looking forward to play with Stephen again at the Prom this summer and with a pleasure will come back to Baltimore and Milwaukee. And, of course, looking forward to do this Symphony in Liverpool in a couple of months!
To not be too sweet in a blog, I need to say, that especially during this trip noticed very clear – recession is strong in States, as well as in Europe (and even worse in Russia!), and it’ll take a long time for the World to recovery from current economic situation. What about a culture? Difficult to predict… but the history knows examples, when during global catastrophes, like WWII for instance, people had even more intensive cultural life, trying to find an escape from horrors and disasters.
P.S. Forgot to write about week in Valladolid before US – did Mahler 7 and Strauss Songs with Barbara Bonney there – were stunning performances of this very complicate symphony, especially first-time-ever (!) for this orchestra after just two days of rehearsals. And I’ve disagreed with critics, who said, that Barbara was voiceless in a first half, I did enjoyed every note and every change of color and mood! Probably reviewer listen this concert too far from stage and couldn’t get all details… And again, looking forward to perform this great symphony in Liverpool in 2011!