Tuesday, 21 April 2009

New!

Quite a long time haven’t written anything… Well, it’s been a very busy period, a lot of travelling, planning, concerts, recordings, awards, even professorship ))
And a lot of good things happened – reviews for CD’s been fantastic, national critics acclaimed concerts, local councils approved our budget and the most important – a lot of people have been in our presentation of next season! Hope that in 2009-10 even more audience will come to our concerts.
Talking more precisely about past events – of course Shostakovich 8 was a special night, but it was more or less what I’ve expected to produce, but real surprises were “La Mer” and “Firebird”, played with a great quality and inspiration. It’s always very difficult to play French music with British orchestras (and Firebird in many ways is also French) due to historical-mental difference between two nations (you see, I’m professor!), and final result was fantastic – even if there still be a lot of room for improvement. Recordings: plenty of them should be released soon, and I think Shostakovich 5 and especially 9 will be better than 11. As well two CDs of Rachmaninov, Symphonic Dances, Isle of the Dead, 3rd Piano Concerto, Rhapsody on Paganini theme should be a big hits. And there are few other pieces to record at summer!
Overseas concert – did recently Valladolid (Manfred Symphony), where critics acclaim as “un nuevo genio” after my 26th concert in this city ;), and last week been in Porto with a big success as well. Do you know what unite those two cities? Both have new concert halls… And now on my way to St Louis and week after (Aloha!!!) Hawaii Symphony. Hope to get some sunshine after rainy week in Portugal!

P.S. Will answer all your questions in other posts as soon as possible.

74 comments:

Laura Brown said...

Hello! I've been loving your recording of Shosty 11. Was a little disappointed that you won't be appearing at the Proms this year -- hope you will come and perform in London soon!

Vasily said...

Hi Laura!
I'm at the Proms this year - 8th August with NYO. Welcome!

Robin said...

Hi Vasily

Welcome back to your blog! It's great to hear from you again and I'm sure we all look forward to the further posts you promise...

If the recordings of Shostakovich symphonies 5 (see you're doing that in St Louis; lucky St Louisians) and 9 are going to be even better than the 11th, they are going to blow our heads off! Yes, La Mer and the Firebird were both stupendous, but Shostakovich 8 was incredible too. Your performance of Cockaigne in Liverpool was great, so I hope they enjoy it in St Louis too. And then more Shostakovich, with Rachmaninov, in Hawaii - flowers round your neck??? Greatly looking forward to next season, but first to concerts without you this week and next week, and then to your return in mid-May.

Good to see you have fans in London too and hope Laura gets to hear the NYO conducted by you in the summer. A lot of people forget about your work with the NYO - any chance of you bringing them to Liverpool...

... and is your comment about new concerts halls in Valladolid and Porto a hint for Liverpool?

Have a good trip to the States.

Robin

Vasily said...

Hi Robin
NYO in Liverpool - 7th January 2010. Afterwards a big challenge for me "how to travel to St.Petersburg for rehearsal of Mahler 3 at 8th January?"
My comments about new halls everywhere a hint for Liverpool...

Robin said...

Hi again Vasily

Thanks for the NYO info; I've put 7 January 2010 in my diary.

How to get to St Petersburg for the rehearsal of Mahler 3 is a big question! Just a thought: on the new KLM service from Liverpool, you can book straight through to St Petersburg changing planes in Amsterdam and it takes about 8 hours.

We must try to get the Phil management to open up the debate on improved hall/new hall. At the moment it doesn't seem that they are very willing to look at the new hall option, but unless we try to get it, we won't get it.

Laura Brown said...

Hi Vasily! I think it must be time for me to get new glasses. Thanks for setting me straight about the Proms -- I'll be there!

jill said...

Hello Vasily and everyone. I was quite sure you would be relaxing somewhere after all the excitement in your life recently, but you were working all the time. Our relationship with France is odd, many in Britain don't realise that the Entente Cordiale between us is not much more than 100 years old, before that it was war, war, war. And Portugal, of course, is our oldest ally in the world. Pity about the weather, we had glorious Easter sunshine over here!

You have been busy in the recording studio and I will be looking out for the CDs.

Great news about the NYO coming here, presume you will be conducting? Also note that your Prom with them is being televised, which will be great.

I am just home from seeing Rinaldo Alessandrini conduct a lovely concert. His style reminded me of you, not nearly so elegant of course and without that magically expressive left hand. I was disappointed to see quite a lot of empty seats in the front circle and several people moved down from higher up. I have eleven more concerts before this season ends, last one on 15 July, so quite a short break before the new season starts.

We all enjoyed the Outer Space concert last weekend, the children were all enthralled, except the youngest (5) found it "too loud" amazingly. I bought a book about instruments of the orchestra, with CDRom and Elisabeth had clearly been reading it as she recognised many instruments and was keeping time all through the evening. There were several monsters from Dr Who, including Davros, also Darth Vadar and some Storm Troopers from Star Wars. We also saw three films at the Phil over Easter. Most of them usually fall on a Tuesday when I am not free, so it was a treat.

Hope everyone from Faith Primary School enjoyed the trip to London, my niece was so jealous when she read about the 92 free instruments arriving shortly.

I agree with Robin about getting the idea of a new hall into the public arena, we can't just sit here quietly hoping for the best, got to get everyone talking about it. Are the Phil management not keen on the idea? If they are not, it's hard to see how Liverpool or UK Arts funders are going to be. How shall we start the debate?

Looking forward to your updated page on the Phil website. I was a bit rude about your agents, IMG, but the "tours" tag still has only one entry : Jan - March 2008!! Considering your travels over the past year, it is badly out of date.

Hi to Laura. Lucky you going to the Proms. I have been to the RAH twice but not to a Prom.

Vasily, the photos of you and your son on the Hope website are gorgeous, he is adorable. Did the students make his mortar and gown? I was at the Phil rehearsal the following day when you arrived wearing your cap. The Leader that day was sitting next to James Clark this evening - is she a new member of the Phil, I love her style of playing, she is great to watch.

Enjoy America and look forward to seeing you again on 13, 23 and 28 May.

Best to all

Jill

Eileen said...

I just saw you in St. Louis on Saturday evening. Wonderful conducting! :)

SLSO said...
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SLSO said...
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SLSO said...

Thoroughly enjoyed your week - looking forward to your return!

Robin said...

Hello Vasily and all

Great to see the appreciations from across the pond from Eileen and from SLSO after the St Louis concerts. Hope, Vasil, that you get some good reviews too, like you have for your other concerts in the US. And hoping Hawaii's good too!

With Vasily away, as Jill says, Rinaldo Alessandrini did a great job conducting the Phil last week and there's a very good review in today's Guardian. Looking forward to seeing Joseph Wolfe for the first time conducting the Phil at this Thursday's concert with my favourite Brahms symphony. Hope they can get someone good to play the Szymanowski in place of the indisposed Arabella Steinbacher.

Going back to to the new hall/improved hall debate, Jill, I think I'll write to Michael Eakin and see what he says.

Jane. said...

Hi, relating to the new hall / improved hall debate; I believe that there is nothing wrong with the hall. Perhaps the hall could do with a 'face lift'. If we had a new hall say for example next to the Liverpool One complex, it would get rid of some of the spirit of the phil. The new recording do sound interesting.

jill said...

Hello again, Vasily you have made a great impression in St Louis, how nice of the orchestra to post to your blog. Hope Honolulu is as good. Please don't stop in Mexico on the way home!!!

As far as Philharmonic Hall is concerned, I will support anything Vasily wants if it will keep him in Liverpool for longer, even if less often. However, I understand Jane's sentiments about the present hall. It has been a feature of Hope Street (such a lovely area of the city) for ever and I would miss it. I do think the capacity for concerts is OK, 2500 seats would be brilliant, but we don't always fill it now, except when Vasily is conducting, so there is still plenty of education to be done re. contemporary music, up and coming performers etc. The grand foyer bar is now a liability and needs major expansion in some direction. Would it be possible to move all the "non-music" areas, ie. admin, to other premises nearby and give their space to the musicians? Is the Friary intended to be temporary or permanent for rehearsals? A lot of time and money has been invested in it and I know the choir prefer it because there is easy, free parking, which they don't get in Liverpool. I guess the carting back and forth of large instruments would be a nuisance, but you can't have everything.

So I suppose I am divided. I think the investment in a new, large venue on the waterfront would be a massive gesture to Vasily, who would have to commit something equally substantial to the city in return. The way his career is going overseas, he might not be willing to do that, and we should not restrict him. I would rather he stayed as chief conductor of the Phil, but did fewer concerts in the years after 2012. That would enhance his reputation in the world, which in turn would give more kudos to Liverpool. Still, what do I know?
We can but live in hope!

Jill

Vasily said...

Aloha to everyone!
Few answers between sunshine, ocean and rehearsals:
- concert of NYO at January 2010 with me,
- doctorship event in Hope was very interesting, Sasha, of course, enjoyed his dress and explained his degree next day to grannies with a big honour))))
- co-leader of orchestra, Miranda, did a very good job this week and you'll see her quite often with RLPO,
- SLSO, you've played absolutely brilliant!!!
- coming back to the question about a hall... well, let's put it this way: both Liverpudlian football clubs think now about new stadiums; blue supporters (as I've understood) in general don't like it - "we like our home, we don't want to go out of town, we've been here for ages", reds (in my point of view) appreciate new deal - "we need a new, bigger stadium to beat the very top teams, we need better transport, parking, more comfort, even if Anfield is huge history, we need to move forward". Please, understand right, it's not a criticisn or hailing one way or another, it's just way of living, and everyone decide what's best.

Robin said...

Aloha Vasily and all

Interesting word - aloha - for hello or goodbye, with ancient sacred meaning in Hawai'ian. Hope, Vasily, that you are enjoying the places you visit as well as working. The music seems to be going very well!

For all those who are interested in knowing more about Miranda, here's a link to a web page:
http://www.morgensternsdiaryservice.com/WebProfile/playfair_m_6372.shtml
She's played with a lot of great orchestras.

On the hall, I love it like anyone else who's been going for decades, but it is chronically out of date in some ways even since its expensive makeover in 1995. That greatly improved the acoustic, though it's not so wonderful now compared with new halls in Britain that have opened since then.

I don't think that, if we had a new hall, we are talking about the end of the beautiful present one at all. It's already found a new role, filling it's entire capacity, for other events and it could continue to be used for those as well as for a lot of classical concerts that suit its space. It does need much better facilities for artists, the orchestra, staff and the audience tho. Until we know how much of this could be done by improvements rather than a new hall, it's not easy to make a proper judgment, but there are obvious limitations - for example, I can't see how the capacity of the auditorium could be extended (it was reduced in 1995 to extend the platform).

I think that Jill said we don't need more capacity, but it is already (seating and platform) totally unsuitable for major works which have to be performed in one of the cathedrals. Great settings, but absolutely dire acoustics. After the first time I went to a performance of Mahler's 8th in the Anglican Cathedral I said 'never again' because the sound was so dreadful, but I've been because it's only one of many works that can't be done in the hall.

More and more, too, concerts have been sold out and potential concert-goers have been disappointed (a number of concerts would have needed repeating to avoid this). If, too, we are ambitious for the orchestra and its achievements, that's going to happen more and more. We need to think of the future (not very far ahead), not just of the present!

I think everyone should travel by public transport! Obviously, though, there are lots of people who cannot do this and large numbers who just won't. They are all put off by lack of car parking and that has got much worse as other activity (restaurants and theatre) have become immensely more popular in the Hope Street area. People drive round and round in circles and find themselves parking ever further away.

I remember people who thought that the Halle should stay in the dreary old Free Trade Hall, but I'm sure they wouldn't want to go back now that they have the Bridgewater. Would Birmingham concerts-goers want to go backwards from Symphony Hall? In the West Country, look at The Lighthouse; in the north east look at The Sage in Gateshead. The Phil, wonderful as it is arcitecturally and as a venue, just does not provide the facilities of these newer venues.

People are linking this all just to Vasily and keeping him in Liverpool, and we all hope he'll stay at least a while (even 10 years would be very nice!). But we need to be thinking about the future whoever is heading the musical direction and what we can offer to someone in the not-very-distant future when we might need to attract someone as good as Vasily to come to Liverpool! We might not have a new hall by then, but we could have a plan and demonstrate an ambition to reach ever new heights.

You may all be bored by this long diatribe, so I'll stop just with this thought. Don't think about losing the present hall, but about gaining a new one. We could have two great venues, including a new one where things could be possible that won't ever be possible in the present one!

Best to everyone.

jill said...

Hi Robin - I will consider myself told off!! You are right, of course, we should be setting our sights higher and I will support any move for a new hall. I never said I was against it, I just got a bit sentimental. I love Liverpool and I am a huge fan and supporter of the Phil - I agree wholeheartedly that the orchestra needs to be able to show itself off to best possible advantage, so a new hall it is!! Vasily, you have my full support. I hadn't realised that Sasha got a degree as well as a gown, that's great. Also delighted to hear that Miranda will be a regular at the Phil. It is windy and wet here today, so enjoy the ocean and sunshine while you can.

Best to all
Aloha!
Jill

Jill

Robin said...

Hi Jill

I didn't mean it to sound like telling off, but I just think we can get a little cosy and now that Vasily's got the upward track going so fantastically, the moment needs to be seized to keep going onwards and upwards! I'm not underestimating the size of the task either - the Everyman/Playhouse redevelopment needs £41 million and it's a City Council priority, so a new concert hall on top might be a considerable battle ... interestingly, a lot of people think that the Everyman should be left as it is for sentimental reasons, but it's really in quite a bad state.

best, Robin

Jane. said...

Hi everyone. I was just wondering whether or not the orchestra could use the echo arena for more complex concerts? I think that the recession has made the City Council's job even more problematic, as plans to improve Hope Street have been put on hold. However, I strongly believe that the Council should keep the philharmonic hall for the orchestra and other events.

All the best.

jill said...

Hi Jane and everyone. Just home from the Phil where the concert (first half) was spectacular, the violin solo was brilliant and the orchestra too. Unfortunately, the audience was pathetic with huge swathes of the seats empty. When we get our new hall, the programme planners had better stick to the "usual" repertoire otherwise the music will be echoing around an empty barn. Sorry to be negative, but it's so disappointing when there has been fantastic improvement and development in the past 3 years. If Vasily's fan club is not attending, it seems nothing has changed in the Phil audiences.

Jane, apparently the acoustic is not good at the Arena, but I have enjoyed splendid concerts at both cathedrals during 2008 and was not concerned about the echo at any of them. I am not a music connoisseur, I just go to enjoy myself, listen to the music and admire the performers.

Jill

Jane. said...

Dear Jill, sorry about your concerts. At the moment I haven't been going to the phil as I have essays due in soon. However, I am going to a concert on 14th.

All the best.

Robin said...

Hello all

As Jill says, the audience last night was disappointing (not quite as bad as it sounds from Jill's post) and it is a great shame if people just don't go because Vasily isn't conducting. This isn't always the case, though, so perhaps people were frightened by the name of Szymanowski! Phil audiences are quite awful about skipping concerts that include works they are not familiar with...

... but they really missed something. It was a pity that Arabella Steinbacher couldn't make it, but Benjamin Schmid's performance of the Szymanowski violin concerto was absolutely stunning and we must have him back at the Phil. He also gave a wonderful encore of Heinrich Biber's Passacaglia and I see he's a great jazz lover, which would be interesting for the Phil. Last night the Orchestra was fine, too, with the Elgar and even better in the Brahms 2nd symphony.

Going back briefly to the Hall, poor Mr Schmid had to be accompanied in a very sensitive passage by the sound of emergency vehicle sirens from outside. That is not that unusual and a concert hall needs to be soundproof! Even if we don't get a new hall, something must be done about that.

Jane's suggestion of the Arena for works needing large forces and attracting large audiences had passed through my head. Like Jill, though, I doubt if the acoustics are going to be very good because it's an adaptable space that wasn't designed with acoustics in mind. For all I know, though, it may be better than the cathedrals - unlike Jill, I think the acoustics of both cathedrals are in different ways truly appalling, although they are magnificent settings.

Hope Jane enjoys her return to the Phil on 14 May. There are not many tickets left for that, but then Vasily will be back and I'm looking forward to hearing what he does with the familiar 'war horse' Pictures at an Exhibition.

Best

Karen said...

Hello all,

Very interesting discussion about renovating the Hall and its' acoustics. My main candidate for improvement is the foyer. Everytime I've been there I've thought it a cramped place for the increasing numbers of patrons. It's great that audiences generally seem to be increasing, but it may be nice for them to have more room to move before and after a concert.

I too will next be visiting the Phil on 14th May for the 'Pictures...' concert (and then the White Nights in July), so we'll be able to compare notes!.

All the best.

Jane. said...

Hi, Karen and everyone. I am going to all those concerts. So I might see you around. Oh, Jill I do like the concerts in the cathedrals, however, the seats are TOO uncomfortable. Pity though as the music was extremely good- Verdi's and Tavener's Requiems.

Robin said...

Hello again

I agree with Karen that there is often not a lot of room to move about in the Phil foyer and sometimes it can be quite an effort to get a drink or coffee in the interval. Also agree with Jane that seats in the cathedrals (especially the Metropolitan) are excruciatingly uncomfortable - and, just to repeat my repetition, you can't hear the music properly!!

Going back to last night's poor house, I don't suppose we should get too despondent if this happens sometimes because it happens everywhere. As Hilary Finch says, reviewing a BBC Phil concert in today's Times: 'I've seldom seen the Bridgewater Hall so empty'

jill said...

Hello everyone and thanks for the replies. The audience for Rinaldo Alessandrini was not bad, only the front circle was more empty than full. For Joseph Wolfe, the entire circle was dotted with patrons. I couldn't see the stalls, but upstairs was very disappointing, I couldn't believe it.
Don't you think the money providers would look at this sort of thing before funding a new hall? There do seem to be two audiences, one for Vasily and another much smaller for contemporary or little known music. It isn't only the odd concert, it is evident on a regular basis.

You are very brave, Robin, attending the Foyer Bar in the interval, I gave up long ago. We used to have coffee there after the concerts, but they were flicking the lights before we were ready to leave, so now we go over the road to TLCW. I hide in Rubato before the concerts and go up at the last minute.

Dear Vasily, I think your analogy of the football clubs is more complicated than you say. I will make just a couple of points.
Many people (not only Evertonians) were outraged when Liverpool FC was given permission to build on one of the city's parks. Liverpool City was the absolute front runner in introducing public amenities (Birkenhead Park was the first in the country) so our parks are a big part of our history and heritage.
Some emotional Evertonians feel that by moving out of the city, they are handing the city over to Liverpool FC. Everton is not as successful as Liverpool FC at the moment, but it has a longer and more illustrious history. By the way, I am in favour of the move to Kirkby.
Money - the Phil doesn't have Tesco or wealthy Americans ready to sign cheques, so it will probably (and unfairly) have to work harder to prove that it deserves a new, larger venue. This whole subject needs to be in the public arena. Strong views in favour need to be brought to the attention of the funders, Liverpool City Council and elsewhere. I believe the Phil audiences have an important part to play in this. You and your blog are carrying the fight alone at the moment. Robin, I hope you will let us know what Michael Eakin says in response to your letter.

Jane, I definitely enjoyed both cathedral requiems, I agree about the seats and acoustic, but the events certainly put the problems in the shade for me.

I am at next week's concert on Wednesday, so will save any comments until after Thursday's performance.

Jill - I got my copy of the new Phil book and it is very interesting.

Jane. said...

Hello Everyone. I was wondering if everyone knew of any violin teachers around the Merseyside area or any reasonable choirs please?

jill said...

Hi Jane, re. violin teachers - check your local library, also music shops in Liverpool where teachers often advertise.
Re choirs - the Cantata Choir at the Met Cathedral (mainly sacred) Formby or Birkenhead Choral Societies, large works, probably need good sight reading, Crosby Capriol Singers - mixed repertoire from Bach to Beatles, Phil Community Choir - I think it's amateur, don't know about auditions etc. I am sure there are plenty more, look in library for this also.

Saw four fantastic singers last night at Cornerstone with 10:10.

jill

Jane. said...

Dear Jill, thanks for your comment. I'll check Dawson Music Shop next time I go to Liverpool. I am also on a waiting list for the Community Choir for about a year now- so I'll look around for alternatives. All the best.

Robin said...

Hello all

As Jill says, the 10:10 concert on Thursday had some good singers and it was very enjoyable music altogether. Ken Hesketh's Grimm Brothers setting was a really enjoyable new piece. I'm very fond of some Nielsen songs on the Phil's recording of his 4th symphony and I thought that Matthew Moss's voice would also do them very well.

Also last night's John Rutter concert, although an odd programme in some ways, was very enjoyable even if Rutter's style is not quite as subtle as I'd like. Melanie Marshall' voice was a delight and the jazzy playing in the Rutter piece showed just what versatility the members of the orchestra can display. The size of the audience shows, incidentally (see previous postings), that people will go to concerts when Vasily's away if they like the programme.

Will return to the new hall debate soon (!), but it seems to me that this could be raised at the forthcoming members evening at the Friary. It'll be really interesting to see this space for the first time.

In the meantime, looking forward to the concert on Thursday - those of you going on Wednesday can get your verdicts in first!

Robin said...

Two wins for the Orchestra and Ensemble 10:10 in the RPS Music Awards is absolutely fantastic news for the Phil, together with Music for Life being a runner-up in the education category. Congratulations all round!

More evidence, if any was needed, of how fortunate we are to have the Phil.

Gaynor said...

Hello - just thought I'd add a comment about new concert halls. I was lucky enough to go and sing at the Casa de Musica in Porto at the beginning of April (Britten's War Requiem to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Portuguese defeat of the French (assisted by the British) in the Peninsular wars)
The hall is very nice indeed, great facilities for audience and performers (the comfiest choir seats EVER) great acoustics etc. Very evident that Porto has had a massive influx of money as the transport system (under/over ground trains) is all brand new also. I think maybe some countries are getting more out of the EU than others.......
We need a big new concert hall in West Yorkshire as well.....

jill said...

Hi everyone. Gaynor, I think you are right about the EU, although Liverpool has had quite a bit of European money. As far as talking about a new hall for the Phil is concerned, I am almost losing the will to live, we just keep talking about the same stuff all the time.

I won't spoil tomorrow's concert for those attending, but don't miss it!

Great news about the RPS awards, congratulatons to Vasily and the orchestra (and 10:10 of course - very well deserved).

jill

Robin said...

Hi

Gaynor's contribution on the hall debate is interesting and, though Liverpool has had a lot of EU money (that's actually our money that we pay in taxes), most of it has been for fundamental infrastructure. It would be good to know who has funded all the other new halls in Europe - there are lots of them (Vasily's also mentioned a few)! One more for West Yorkshire and another one for Liverpool...

I know what Jill means by 'losing the will to live' on this subject because, not being connected to reality, we keep going round in circles. I've written to Michael Eakin asking him if we can have a statement on this subject at the forthcoming members' evening. As time will be limited then, I've also asked him if he'll arrange a proper debate after that. We'll see what he says.

Best wishes

Robin said...

Hello Vasily and all

Greatly enjoyed last night's concert. It was interesting to hear the pieces from Rimsky-Korsakov's Tsar Saltan because (apart from the concert encore bumble bee amusingly presented by Vasily?) I'd never heard the music before. Rachmaninov is not one of my most favourite composers, but with performances like last night from orchestra and soloist I may be converted. Lovely delicate encore (Rachmaninov prelude) from Eldar Nebolsin too. Perhaps because it's so familiar, I usually find Pictures at an Exhibition rather tedious (the original piano version by Mussorgsky is rather good), but as usual Vasily breathed new life into the familiar to make a very rewarding evening in such a wonderful week for the Phil.

Vasily: no stick for last night's concert. Was that just because of the programme or are you becoming a stick-less conductor? Or, as some people have remarked, a whole-body conductor! No baton seemed to work very well, though, and it would be interesting to hear about when/whether a conductor needs a baton.

Hall debate: Michael Eakin says he'll say something about this at the members event on 9 June, and answer questions if there's time, so all come along to hear what he says about this and all other Phil news. And of course to see The Friary - not having seen it, I'm looking forward to that.

I see the construction cost of the Sage Gateshead was around £70 million (massive lottery grant and 2 sources of EU money among more sources of finance). The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester cost £42 million (also EU money involved), but that's 15 years ago, so would be MUCH more now.

all the best

Robin

Karen said...

Hi all,

I too had a great time on Thursday. Much of the programme was new to me. Rachmaninov is one of my favourite composers and while I didn't find the 4th Piano Concerto one of his most memorable works it still gave a good impression of being 'on the move' and disjointed. It and the Prelude were beautifully played by Eldar Nebolsin.

It was the first time I'd heard 'Pictures at an Exhibition' in its' entirety and was really carried along by it. A favourite part - never heard before - was 'The Old Castle's' solo saxophone piece.

I also enjoyed Stravinkys 'Scherzo a la Russe' and 'The Flight of the Bumblebee'.

Catherine Jones gave the concert 8/10 in the Echo yesterday but I think I'd give something closer to 10!. Congratulations once again to the Phil and Vasily for the evening - as a man seated behind me observed 'It was great!'.

Incidently, does anyone know when the next seasons' catalogue will be sent to non-subscribers?. My mum wishes to subcribe but wants to peruse a paper copy before deciding (as do I - I've already got my ear on two in November and March).

All the best.

Vasily said...

Hello everyone!
Glad, that you liked concerts in a last week and great, that RLPO and 10/10 got awards!
Regarding "new hall" discussion - when you look at the costs in Newcastle or Manchester, or elsewhere, think about profits! What Bridgewater and especially Sage done with areas is amazing, it's pure regeneration and revival. All money spent came back with business taxes and tourism, and this is only beginning. For city building a new attraction and creating new working places is a long-term investment plus cultural progress and better education. Shame, that a VERY few politics understand it...
Conducting without baton - Sasha decided, that he need a real one, even if he has his own (my wife couldn't resist this demand and bought about half-a-year ago!), so, I didn't found it in my bag 15 minutes before concert ))) For me it doesn't matter with/without, apart from first Vienna school (Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven...), which is more convenient with baton.
Karen - don't wait, subscribe! Apparently almost everyone found next season's programming stronger than 08/09!
Best regards from Luzern - I need to feed a swans now...

Lucerne said...

Have you hiked up Mount Pilatus? If not, and you have time, I highly recommend!

Robin said...

Hi Vasily

You do get around! Haven't been to Luzern for many years, but remember it as very attractive and, on the web at least, the konzertsaal looks good too. As your concert's not until Tuesday, perhaps in between rehearsals you'll be able to do the hike up Mount Pilatus that Lucerne suggests as well as feed swans. There's a cogwheel train, but that would be cheating!

Have you taken your baton, or has Sasha taken charge of it now? When is he taking over from you??

I didn't mean by mentioning the costs of new halls to mean we shouldn't try to get one, but just to give a touch of reality. The thing about new halls (especially The Sage as you say and others like The Lighthouse in Poole) is that they offer much more flexibility with a range of spaces. The main auditorium in The Bridgewater Hall has 1800 seats and that would be a good capacity to have. I hope that everybody is going to come to the Phil members' event on 9 June and hear what Michael Eakin says about premises, and then we can see where we go after that.

Hope the concert goes well - I see you're doing the Higdon Violin Concerto with Hilary Hahn that we'll be hearing in Liverpool very soon.

And, Karen, I don't think that Catherine Jones knows anything much about music, so I wouldn't take much notice of her score in the Echo!

Best wishes

Jane. said...

Hi. I really enjoyed the concert on Thursday. I thought the baton by the way would get in the way of the performance. Anyway, I don't think Vasily wants to end up like Jean-Basptiste Lully, who died from his own baton (however, it was in 1687)! Look forward for more concerts.

Jane.

jill said...

Hi everyone

Robin, I will be at the Members meeting and look forward to it. Maybe there will be a properly organised plan to lobby for a new venue, or something else that we can sign up to and help with.
I agree with you, Robin, that Pictures at an Exhibition was interpreted beautifully. As soon as it was over, my friend commented "it's like hearing a new piece of music" and she was right, it was. I thought it was a lovely gesture by Vasily to let the orchestra have the encore (if that is what he was doing by not conducting it) following their awards.
Karen - booking for new subscribers opens on Monday 18 May, so hurry. Public booking opens 8 June. I am sure you will get a brochure at the Phil, if you are near. I think details are also on this website. I am not sure but I think you need to book 3concerts to be a "subscriber".

I thought the Rutter concert was very good too. I have sung the Feel the Spirit piece and I am glad Melanie Marshall had a song in her own style, to show off her voice. I saw her a few years ago in Messiah at the Phil.

Back the Phil on 23 May, hope some of you will be there too.

Jill

rogerbratby said...

Short note to say thanks for the encore at last Wednesday night's concert. Extra nice touch that it linked directly to the Tsar Saltan suite at the start of the concert.
There are so many excellent pieces from the "five" that are rarely heard in concert halls these days - please keep programming them in.
PS How about a concert performance of one of Rimsky's operas? Kitezh seemed to go well in London a few years ago, as did Mlada in Birmingham. Christmas Eve would be just right for a Christmas season concert.

Robin said...

Hello again everyone

I didn't know that sory that Jane told about Lully, so I looked him up. It seems that a baton then was a long stick that the conductor banged on the floor, so I'm glad that conducting evolved. Lully seems to have been quite a musician and quite a man - almost a sex maniac who had affairs indiscriminately with both men and women!

Glad you'll be going to the members' event Jill and hope lots of people turn up. I meant to say that I agree completely with Vasily that you need to look at benefits as well as costs when looking at the possible new hall issue, but I'm not so sure that the 'profits' would come quite as quickly as he'd want!

A pity we only seem to have got a local review of last week's concert. I don't know that Rimsky operas that Roger mentions at all, but I'm always keen to hear something I've never heard before, so perhaps Vasily will think about concert performances.

Disappointingly, I'll miss this coming Saturday's concert as I have to be in London, but I've given our tickets to people who don't usually go to the Phil, so perhaps it will encourage them to go more often. The programme is really appealing to me, so I look forward to hearing what people think of the performance.

Jane. said...

Hi, Robin. I only knew about Lully because I read the 'Classic FM Friendly Guide to Music'. It didn't mention about Lully's personal life at all! Enjoy your trip to London.

Robin said...

I'm sure I'll enjoy my trip Jane - it's just unfortunate that it's when Vasily's conducting Schoenberg and Mahler!

I got Lully's personal life from Wikipedia - it's worth a look for his musical career ... and you find he was Italian, not French.

Robin

rogerbratby said...

Hi Robin
- if you want to explore Rimsky operas a good start is the selection of suites recorded by Neeme Jarvi on Chandos (a 2 CD set at mid-price). Some of the operas themselves have been recorded by Gergiev with the Kirov but given some are 2 or 3 CD sets it's probably best to give the suites a go first.
Enjoy.....

Konstantin said...

Здравствуйте,Василий.Вас беспокоит исполнитель на английском рожке из оркестра Новосибирска.Сегодня купил диск с записью "Манфреда" Чайковского.Спасибо Вам и Вашему оркестру за огромное удовольствие от замечательного исполнения этого недооценённого шедевра.С удовольствием хотел бы послушать Вашу запись 11й симфонии Шостаковича.Константин.

Jane. said...

Уважаемый Константин, я бы очень рекомендовал Шостаковича 11 симфонии. PS Я только говорю Английский, я получил эту переведены через "Google".

Robin said...

Hi Roger

Many thanks for the tip on exploring Rimsky operas. I'll look out for the CDs by Jarvi on Chandos.

Anyone got comments on last night's concert that I missed because I was away. The people we gave our tickets to said that it was 'wonderful' and I expect others will agree!

Константин: Манфред Вазилай является большим, и я соглашаюсь с Джилл, что Вы будете конечно впечатлены его интерпретацией Shostakovich 11. Мы все ждем его регистрации других симфоний Shostakovich. Это переведено "rustran.com" Наилучшими пожеланиями Робин

jill said...

Hi Robin, the concert on Saturday was excellent. I will have to listen to the first piece again, but I was intrigued by the style and enjoyed it. The Mahler was an absolute delight. I don't know much about him, except his reputation for morbid heaviness, but this symphony was very entertaining throughout, fabulous solos and the woodwind section, as always, were superb. Sorry I can't give you any technical critique, but I was enriched at the end, which is all I can ask for.

I am not writing anything in Russian, I am already bored with translating, I can say, though, that I am more than ever impressed with Vasily's linguistic accomplishments!

Jill

Jane, I hope you got a brochure. If you book 3 concerts you automatically become a subscriber, get at least 10% off plus other benefits.

Jane. said...

Hello Everyone. My mum and I are both subscribers, so I have two copies of the brochure. I am particularly looking forward to the 'Lark Ascending' concert with Thibaudet. During the launch, I had never heard of Thibaudet, so it just shows how much I know about music!!

Robin, I am glad you agreed with me about the Shostakovich 11 CD, it’s full of passion and death. Looking forward to Thursday's concert. Jane.

Karen said...

Hi all,

Jill, we've yet to get hold of a brochure but my mum took Vasilys' advice and has now subscribed. Going by the online brochure, we've booked 5 concerts so far, including the 'Lark Ascending/Thibaudet. We were amazed to discover this concert was nearly booked up - a year in advance!. I have one film soundtrack which Thibaudet played on - and have heard him occasionaly elsewhere -and really like his delicate style.

I too will be attending Thursdays' 'Americans Abroad' concert, it'll be interesting to hear what the new violin piece will be like.

All the best.

jill said...

Hi Karen, my apologies to you and Jane for getting you mixed up. Brochures are definitely available in the foyer now, make sure you sign up for e.mail news and if you didn't get a 10% discount contact the hall.

Jill

Robin said...

Glad to hear from Jill that the concert on Saturday was excellent and I'm very much looking forward to this Thursday's, both for the new concerto by Higdon and for Vasily's Elgar. With only two full orchestra concerts left this season, it's great that people are booking ahead for next year! Thibaudet should be quite something...

I've enjoyed all of Vasily's discs so far, Jane, and must get the new recording of Tavener's Requiem (EMI). The Times review of it (4 stars) said it was a 'fine advert' for Vasily and the Phil. The Independent also gave it a 4-star review.

Interesting reading in Vasily's big interview in today's Echo. Here's a link for anyone who doesn't get the paper and wants to read it:
http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-entertainment/echo-entertainment/2009/05/26/vasily-petrenko-talks-about-his-three-years-as-royal-liverpoiol-philharmonic-orchestra-conductor-and-the-years-to-come-100252-23711764/

All the best to all

Jane. said...

Hello again! Jill, don't worry about mixing myself and Karen up. At least the philharmonic has another subscriber! Thank you Robin, for the hyperlink, the interview was an honest and open account, full of amusing stories. I have brought 'Tavener requiem' on its release date and I was listening to it this morning. Listening to the CD, I don’t remember the music at all; I only remember attending the concert. However, the music was very atmospheric which the aim of the piece was. All the best.

Karen said...

Hello again,

Talking of brochures, Jill, ours came through the post this afternoon. Mum got the 10% off so all's well.

Hope we all enjoy Thursday.

Am just off to look up Vasilys' interview in the Echo....

jill said...

Hello everyone. I will be first to comment on last night's concert, which I thought was simply stunning. Vasily's interpretation of An American in Paris was similar to Pictures at an Exhibition - in that he made it seem like a completely new, fresh piece of music and not at all the piece we all thought we knew so well. Hahn and Higdon - what a combination! What a showcase performance! And finally the Elgar, which I did not know, but enjoyed very much. I could feel the appreciation of people around me and the great cheer at the end warmed my heart.
I was "bravo-ing" at the top of my voice and willing everyone to stand up. I hope there are some national reviews, but if not, it was a great send-off for Vasily at the end of his main season - I know he will be busy in England for many weeks yet and back at the Phil in July.

Vasily, it was lovely to see your family at the Phil last night, thank you so much for another fantastic season at the Phil. You have several exciting concerts in the coming weeks, here and abroad, your Echo interview was very encouraging and I look forward to seeing you on 4 and 25 July and on TV at the proms with NYO.
Enjoy summer and roll on September!!

Best wishes to all
Jill x
PS is anyone going to see The Sixteen at the Metro Cath? If not, will hopefully 'see you' at the Phil Summer Pops.
PPS Good luck to Everton tomorrow!

Robin said...

Hi Everyone

Absolutely agree with Jill that the concert was wonderful - the Gershwin was fun and marvellously played; the Higdon concerto was wonderfully accessible with reminders of other composers and quite stnningly played by Hilary Hahn, who is fantastic; and my admiration for Vasily's interpretation of Elgar grows and grows. I am immensely fond of Elgar and hope Vasily will turn his attention to some choral work.

Good review (4*) in today's Telegraph, but should have been even better!!

Am going to next week's concert conducted by Carlo Rizzi and I'm intended to take in the Phil cellos at lunchtime the same day. Also going to the next 10:10, which sounds really interesting, but not to the Sixteen. All members remember the meeting at the Friary on 9 June!

I see Vasily's now going to conduct at the Viennese Balls again at St George's Hall in the summer.

I echo Jill's thanks to Vasily for another great season - it's difficult to express how fantastic the concerts are now.

All best to Vasily and all bloggers.

Gillian said...

Hello everyone,
I also enjoyed the concert last Thursday very much indeed, especially the Gershwin and the Elgar.
I do however struggle with modern music. The violin concerto was brilliantly played but to me it was all virtuosity and no emotion,as it seems to me to be the case with so many modern composers. I suppose I am just an old "fuddy-duddy" but I do try!

I am going to listen to the recording on Radio 3 on Monday, maybe I will understand it better on second hearing.

Looking forward to the concert on 4th July and to next season.

Best Wishes
Gillian

Robin said...

Sorry you had difficulty, Gillian, with the concerto and hope you get on better with it when you hear it on the radio tonight. I thought it was quite difficult near the beginning, but quite soon was very listenable.

Excellent review in today's Times, but again 4*. Reading the review you'd wonder really why it's not 5* - the reviewers all seem very mean with the fifth star!

Robin said...

There's nothing like a live musical performance, but last Thursday's concert sounded pretty impressive on the radio tonight - with some of the excessive audience sound removed!

I give it five stars even if the critics have to hold back!

jill said...

Hi Robin, I agree with you, what a treat to have all the coughing and bits of applause cut out. Is that why there was no pause between movements, or do they always cut them out? I got even more out of the Gershwin piece, I think I may have only listened to the Gene Kelly film version before, which presumably was reduced somewhat. If I had not seen Hilary Hahn play her violin so quickly, I would not have believed that piece was genuine. She certainly has magic fingers. I loved the music too, even though it was contemporary, I was tapping my feet (always a good sign for me). I really don't know enough about Elgar but I found the symphony very English, its wonderful how music can summon up a place so convincingly.

Definitely five stars!

Jill

Gillian said...

Hello All

I did get more out of the Higdon violin concerto when I listened to the recording on Monday, although I enjoyed the Elgar and Gershwin more.

I hope the BBC broadcasts more of the RLPO concerts in the future, I have enjoyed listening to the two concerts that have been on in the last few weeks.

5 STARS for both, of course!

Lucerne said...

Just found your website that is under construction (vasilypetrenko.com) - any info about when it will be done?

Robin said...

Well spotted Lucerne! I hadn't noticed the 'under construction' website and, Vasily, I'm sure everyone else writing on your blog would like to know when the site is going live. Please tell us.

Absolutely wonderful lunchtime concert with the cellos last Thursday, so many thanks to Jonathan and all the other cellists. Other orchestras do cello section concerts, but the Phil's always do much more interesting and original programmes.

Also a very enjoyable concert last Thursday conducted by Carlo Rizzi, though possibly Barry Douglas was a bit heavy handed in places in the Brahms second piano concerto. Some great playing by the orchestra in Saint Saens organ symphony.

Hope everyone who can make it will be at the members' event on Tuesday. As well as the new hall / improved hall debate, I hope that we'll find out when the Phil's website will finally be updated. The info's a bit tired now.

Best to Vasily and all bloggers.

Jane. said...

Dear Robin and all. Glad you enjoyed your concerts at the Phil on Thursday. Relating to the debate on a potential new hall for the philharmonic, I was wondering if the society could keep the present hall and maybe move all the admin staff to another location to make way for more room for the musicians to rehearse.

In relation to accessing the hall, could the society introduce a 'park and ride' scheme from the waterfront car park to the hall?

Robin said...

Dear Jane (and everyone)

Yes, I'm sure your ideas need to go into the ring with all possibilities and I think Michael Eakin follows this blog and will pick them up if the management isn't already considering them. Am interested to hear what we are told tomorrow evening, though time will be limited then and there are other things on the agenda. Don't know if there can be an early decision on a way forward - presumably any solution depends on money that doesn't yet exist - but we'll see!

jill said...

Robin, I did not make it to the meeting this evening. I have a friend visiting from America and as I will be away next week, this was the only day we could get together. I hope you took notes and await to hear from you, especially if the news is positive.
Jill

Robin said...

Hello Everybody, and sorry if this posting's a bit long!

Before I say something about last week’s members’ meeting, I’ll just say thanks to Classic FM for the fine Phil feast they’ve served up this weekend! And also say how enjoyable last week’s 10:10 concert was if a great pity that more people didn’t think it worthwhile especially to hear a new work by Michael Torke as well as the other music. Actually, I do think sometimes that the perceived inaccessibility of The Cornerstone may put some people off … it’s quite difficult by public transport and a bit of a trudge walking, and with no on-site parking, people aren’t sure where to park if they drive. A tip for (able-bodied) drivers is Q-Park in Epworth Street, a short walk away.

For Jill and anyone else who couldn’t make it:

The meeting was very good, not least to see and hear all about St Mary of the Angels, Everton in its new role as the Phil at the Friary. Even for an atheist like me, it’s a fantastic building to see for the first time and great that the Phil is finding it so useful for rehearsals and other activities like the In Harmony project.

We all know the great, wide-ranging and worthwhile work that the Phil is doing in Learning and Engagement in all sorts of ways and it was fascinating to hear more about this, especially about the cutting-edge In Harmony, which seems to be providing major benefits to the West Everton community, especially the children of Faith Primary School.

It was very interesting, too, to hear of the plans for the orchestra and the ambition for the RLPO to be at the acme of the British and international orchestral scene with Vasily’s ‘we can always do better’ attitude, which is already reaping such incredible benefits in rising artistic standards. This has given a fantastic boost to confidence that the Phil (like the City) has not always had enough of, and the renewed international touring programme is just one aspect of this alongside the acclaimed recordings and favourable national reviews. Be warned: we are probably going to be asked to put our hands in our pockets even more (just as we should if we have money) to support a projected tour of China by the orchestra. I must say it’s really good to see the orchestra touring more extensively again.

Michael outlined the current Board/management thinking on future premises provision and explained that the view is that the most feasible thing is to have a comprehensive improvement programme for the Phil with a major new foyer and other spaces, including a new, smaller auditorium on the site of the present car park. I think we can have every confidence that all the issues we know about (cramped and unsuitable conditions both front of house and backstage, parking difficulties etc.) are clearly on the agenda and everything is being looked at carefully. At one time I would have had no confidence in this, but I think the Board and the management team have (like the orchestra) upped the bar.

I still think that there are major arguments in favour of a new hall (although of course finance is the major problem here) and I was very pleased that Michael said that, though the improvement of Philharmonic Hall is regarded as the most feasible option, they have not absolutely ruled out any possibility, including a new hall. There is no way that the capacity of the main auditorium can be expanded though, and it’s possible that it would have to be decreased if more stage space was needed. I shall continue to argue that the capacity is insufficient for a number of reasons and that it is just not compatible with an ambition for the orchestra to sit at the top of the tree. As far as I can see every other English symphony orchestra (except Bournemouth at the Lighthouse Poole) outside London can play to a larger audience than can ever be accommodated in Philharmonic Hall. At the risk of inducing boredom, I’ll return to this theme!

All best, Robin

jill said...

Many thanks, Robin, for the info. I was sorry to miss the meeting and intended to go almost up to the last minute. I park in a side street for Cornerstone, only the road outside the entrance has double yellow lines, I always find somewhere round about.

I had heard about the proposed building on the car park and the new plans for the front bar, but nothing in detail. I agree about the confidence and it is imperative that we maintain the forward looking impetus at the Phil, especially with Vasily leading. Is the China tour to do with the Expo and our twinning with Shanghai (or whatever it is called these days? Its hard to know which way to think re new hall v improved existing hall. Once they commit to improvements I suppose that blows any new hall, but if we wait for the money for a new hall, enthusiasm might wane. It would be interesting to know what Vasily thinks of the improvement idea. He has spoken well of the acoustic at Philharmonic Hall (in recent Echo interview). It is heartening to see and hear such progress in the orchestra and the entire life of the Phil, long may it continue and we must do all we can to support them and ensure that it happens.

Jill

Robin said...

Hi Jill

Yes, the possibility of the tour to China is connected to Shanghai Expo 2010 where Liverpool will be the only English city outside London with a permanent stand.

I didn't mention the good news that Michael reported continuing good ticket sales, though like all arts organisations the Phil is having to be careful because of the fall-off in corporate sponsorship during the recession. He also mentioned that there is a need to strengthen the Phil's reserves to guard against possible future funding problems.

Vasily never says what he thinks about improving the Hall - he always talks about a new one!!

Best wishes

Jane. said...

Hello everyone.

Thank you Robin for the info. At the moment I am not too sure reducing the size of the auditorium in order to create a car park is a good idea. There is public transport which is quite frequent.

I am looking forward to the concert on 4th July as it is my birthday. Kind regards Jane.

Robin said...

Hi everyone

None of has much to say outside the main concert season!

Jane: they would only need to reduce the capacity of the auditorium (too small now I think) if they decided that the stage needed expanding or something like that, not for the car park. The existing Phil car park may go to create a second, smaller auditorium. I agree completely about public transport, but we have to accommodate people who don't have access to it or who are wedded to their cars. I'm going to write more soon about why we really need a new hall rather than a re-vamp!

Sorry that I can't get to White Nights, but I'm sure it will be another great Vasily night and hope all who go really enjoy it (and Happy Birthday for Saturday Jane!). The Viennese Ball at St George's Hall on 11 July is not really my thing, so I'm not going, but Vasily and the orchestra are bound to do a great job and I hope all who go have a fun night. I'm already looking forward to September....

All the best

Robin

jill said...

Hi, I am here enjoying not having to go to work. Still enjoying Phil concerts, the final 10:10 and Charlie Chaplin in June, then White Nights on Saturday and Fred and Ginger on 15 July. We also have Vasily at the proms to look forward to on Sat 8 August - on television too!

Thursday 10 September will be here before you know it.

I wonder when the new CDs will be released, I keep looking for them. Also Vasily's website page is still talking about plans for 2008! Come on people, get it sorted.

Enjoy summer everyone.

Jill