Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Russian fest

Glad to read, that last few concerts has been appreciated a lot, as well as few awards, received by the Phil. As always excited by the amount of attendees which keeps growing!
Thanks a lot as well for your response on the question of new hall – at least now discussion is open and taken quite seriously. Main question apart from a budget will be location, and this is really tough! I think new building should be somewhere in central Liverpool, I know that it’s a lot of pressure to stay on Hope Street, but in my point of view best option then might be “a new spectacular 21-century building” next to the Phil!
In a last few weeks being as usual extremely busy (it’s been a big pleasure to see some of Liverpoodlians in Moscow!) I’ve seen a lot of examples how the new buildings improved classical music life in other cities – many years ago in Boston, in a middle of 20th Century in Moscow and more recently in Granada (where current hall under renovation now) and Monte-Carlo. After all I still believe that whatever will happen in my and RLPO life’s, new building will benefit Liverpool forever!
Regarding Orchestra layout last week – idea is to bring more of contrabasses into general balance and have them more involved in performance. I think it’s been quite exciting experiment and we will repeat it in a future. But it’ll be possible in case of small percussion section (as last week), otherwise there is no space, and this is again about needs of new hall...

P.S. I would recommend to everyone attend Saturday’s concert, all music there is absolutely fantastic and not too often performed, so, grab your chance!

P.P.S. If you kept reading till this point, you probably guessing about the title on the top – this is a little test for you, do you know which fest is in Russia today?

44 comments:

Robin said...

Hi Vasily

Great to hear from you after your travels -well, just before the long journey to Sheffield! Hope the concert there goes well and I'm looking forward to Saturday when it would be fantastic if some more seats were sold!

I'm with you on the location of a new hall if we can get one. First three choices: (1) Central Liverpool on the Waterfront; (2) Central Liverpool somewhere else; (3) Hope Street area. On Monday at the Phil AGM it was really good to hear all the successes of last year, the continuing story of success and some ideas for the future. There was quite a good discussion during the meeting and I had a quick word with Lorraine about the new hall issue afterwards. Also a longer chat with Michael, who may be getting tired of me mentioning it! Of course, even if we can get the money (and there isn't any at the moment) there will be people who don't want to leave the present hall. We need to be persuading them why it's really necessary if we have any ambition for the Phil that we have a venue fit for a major orchestra in the twenty-first century. Let's keep our ambitions high.

Yesterday I was thinking that we hardly ever hear Tchaikovsky's orchestral suites. Any chance of some Phil performances?

Today is the anniversary of the October Revolution, so perhaps I should go away now and listen to Shostakovich's 2nd Symphony - a pity your disc with the Phil is still ihn the Naxos queue!

All best

Robin

Robin said...

Actually, I may have got the anniversary of the October Revolution wrong - 7th rather than 4th November - so somebody else can have a go at getting the correct answer to Vasily's question!!

Karen said...

Welcome back Vasily.

Would the festival be National Unity Day, the replacement of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution commemoration?.

Ruth said...

Hello Vasily

Good to have you back on Merseyside - hope you enjoyed your travels and music making.
I think, like Karen, that November 4th is National Unity day in Russia, are we right?

It is good to know that discussions about the new hall are continuing and being taken seriously. I realise that it is a hugh undertaking for all involved, especially the Accountants!! but we must look to future. Where do we want music, The Phil. AND LIVERPOOL to be in 20 years time? Hopefully, a major influence in world music with an all encompassing young persons music development scheme which will ensure full houses at Concerts, Opera and Ballet etc.
I personally would like the new hall to be visible from the waterfront (to be seen by the big liners as they come into port!), perhaps 'below' the Anglican Cathedral. The is a piece of land to the left of Queens Wharf which appears to be used for coach/motorhome parking when there are big events - like sport- at the Arena. It is quite a large plot and for a long time now I have thought what a wonderful place for a world class Concert/Opera Hall. I wonder if 'the powers that be' could investigate this??? This is not just a project for the Philharmonic and its followers but for the whole of Merseyside, we must continue to build Liverpool as Capital of Culture. Instead of letting classical music, opera and ballet slip through our fingers (and go to Manchester!), we need to "grab the bull by the horns" to ensure that the cultural life of the area is fully inclusive and a major selling point for the region.
I hope that the debate can be opened up to encourage additional ideas and possible opportunities.

Although Hope Street is the much loved traditional home of the Phil, would an iconic new build there be appropriate given the limited amount of space available and the architectural style of the area?.

Have been to most concerts this season so far and enjoyed them all. In Vasily's absence I thoroughly enjoyed Krzysztof Urbanski conducting Kilar and Lutoslawski- I hope we see him again! - would love to hear him conduct Penderecki. The Badke gave a super performance of Bartok's String Quartet no.3. Looking forward to Scriabin and Four Serious Songs, also the three Weinberg performances the week after next and, of course, the rest of the season.

Incidentally, Jo large and Celia Goodwin did a great job working with the 5-7 yrs old in the recent workshop. Well done to them.

Ruth

jill said...

Dear Vasily - the concert last evening was simply lovely, the only word I can use to describe it. Each piece was a complete delight, the first so sad and this was beautifully conveyed by the playing; the four songs were so enhanced by the orchestration which was fabulous and I wish the audience had allowed itself to enjoy the silence for a few more seconds before starting to applaud.
I am liking Stravinsky more and more and his "bees" here were super. Finally the Skryabin, I don't know what to say. "It was great" doesn't do it any justice. I would also like to congratulate Gavin Plumley on his programme notes because (for the first time, I think) I can hear that music again simply by reading them. The whole evening ended with a lovely warm glow. It's still only November, yet we have had so many wonderful concerts, I keep thinking it can't continue and then it simply gets even better. Thank you so much.

Despite returning from holiday with a chest infection, I managed to get through the concert without coughing, thanks to several sweets, water, cough linctus and several large hankies to muffle the sound (not needed thankfully).

Robin, I was about to engage with Sefton Council about support for the Phil, but was pipped by their announcement of up to 400 redundancies to cut costs! I commented on the Daily Post article and one of those really snobby people from Southport responded, so I gave him/her the benefit of my thoughts. To hear them, you'd think Liverpool was on another planet. Anyway, I am getting warmed up nicely for the fight!

I seem to have a bunch more concerts to attend in November and if they are all as good as those I have enjoyed up to now, it will be a surfeit of riches and I won't be able to control myself! More! More!

Jill
PS re ice creams, very pleased to see they are suitable for vegis and halal, but I still miss the choc-ices!
PPS -Ruth, excellent post, thanks.

Jane. said...

Hello.

Sorry to hear about your chest infection, Jill. Get better soon! The concert was good last night (apart from the rain)!

Regarding the question about the Russian fest is it to do with the 90th anniversary of the revolution? I was wondering if Krill Karabits might one day conduct at the Phil?

Robin said...

Hi All

I'm looking forward to hearing if anyone's got the correct answer to Vasily's question.

I agree that the concert last night was truly great, so many thanks to Vasily and the orchestra. The Wagner was magnificent and the Brahms/Glanert excellent; what a wonderful voice Leigh Melrose has. The Skryabin was absolutely overpowering - Vasily looked exhausted and I'm sure the orchestra must have been too! I thought the audience was actually better behaved than usual, Jill, and did at least wait until Vasil's hands were back at his sides before applauding. I can't stand those people who clap too early just to show that they know a piece has finished.

I absolutely agree with Ruth about the ambition we need for a future venue and am pushing this at every opportunity I get, but I see nothing's going to happen as quickly as we might like. I don't know the Queen's Wharf location you mention, Ruth, so I think I'll go and take a look because it sounds just the right sort of place. I don't think, Jill, that Sefton Council is really poor and I think it should be pushed despite the redundancy story. The other councils, apart from Liverpool, are pitiful too, but in Wirral they tried to close the libraries, so perhaps the councillors are barbarians... Equally important, we have to make sure that Liverpool maintains its commitment beyond 2011, so we need to harrass on all fronts.

Hope your cough is better, Jill, and glad you managed not to cough. The coughers can often be annoying because it's obvious sometimes that they could avoid coughing, but just don't or even appear deliberately to cough when the music's quiet.

jill said...

Thanks all for responding. I noticed that Vasily had his hands down just before the applause started, but my friend commented that a little longer would have been welcome and about six people around us all agreed!
Re. coughing, I have probably mentioned this millions of times before but what irritates me so much (I even wrote a letter for the programmes about it) is that people make no attempt at all to muffle the sound they make. If you sit in seat 1 and someone coughs in seat 40, it's as if they are right next to you, so the accoustic is obviously cough-friendly! How is it that people can't recognise that fact and make some effort to reduce the noise.
Hopefully, some of them are reading this!
Cough not too bad, Jane, thanks, except as soon as I am horizontal it starts so I am rather sleep deprived and very tired. Never mind, could be worse. I will keep on at Sefton Robin, I agree they are far from broke.
Jill

Ruth said...

Hi Everyone,

Firstly, to Vasily, the Orchestra (and Leigh Melrose) thank you for Saturday's fantastic concert. What a Scriabin!!!!!.

Hope you're better soon Jill. There's nothing worse than trying to enjoy a concert knowing that you might have a 'coughing fit'. (I always go prepared whether I have a cough or not!!)
I admire your fighting spirit , but I don't think, as individuals, we will be able to do much. Councils etc may respond politely but that will be as far as it goes. There needs to be more than an individuals weight behind these things. I am amazed at the number of concertgoers that know nothing about the new hall debate and I would like to see wider discussion to capture thoughts and ideas and, who knows, participation!. Patrons and Members are very important to the Phil and rightly so, but the general public may have some ideas for fundraising etc.
Many months ago I was asked by WNO to join a focus group for an evening to discuss Opera and its future in the area - not too good for Liverpool as audiences are dwindling, but why is this, when in other areas they are growing?.
Some very interesting ideas were put forward and taken back to the board for discussion. (Perhaps the WNO would support the Phil in its quest for a new hall and help promote the Opera side of things).

I agree Robin, nothing will happen quickly, its too big a project and undertaking for those involved. But sometimes when you are 'doing a job' which most of the people involved will be, passions become diluted because of pressures from others and inside information about the pros and cons. We need to ignite that passion and keep them 'fighting'

Incidently Jill, hope you don't think I'm a snob - I'm not from Liverpool - I'm from Southport!!
No offence taken!

Ruth

jill said...

Oh Ruth, me and my big mouth! Sorry
I know what you mean about individual efforts, I have mentioned this before on the blog and we have been known to go around in ever decreasing circles until I lose the will to live. I just hope that if the Phil launch some sort of campaign in the press or wherever, we will be involved and able to add our support.
Maybe they could have a focus group on this subject, they do have them as I have been invited to attend. Your idea about involving the WNO (and perhaps ENB too) is good because they could use the new hall, trains are still a problem at the Empire theatre.

I love Southport really and am a big fan of theatre there. I have trodden the boards at the Arts Centre and Little Theatre many times over the years in amateur productions. There are plenty of snobs in Crosby too, where I live.
Jill

violin player said...

Just found there is a Vasily Petrenko appriciation society on facebook!

jill said...

Hi everyone - just seen the Phil's comment on Facebook about the Independent review of Sunday 2.30 concert - it mentions the cough-enhancing accoustic! Perhaps its not the coughers at fault, but the hall, surely not? Yet another reason for a spectacular new venue.

Violin player - yes, he also has plenty of young musicians on his own facebook page. As you were in the NYO you probably qualify, the rest of us have the blog.
Jill

violin player said...

Just heard a wonderfull piece of Shostakovich on radio 3.

Shostakovich: Execution of Stepan Razin
Alexander Kisselev (bass)
BBC National Chorus of Wales
London Symphony Chorus
BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Vasily Petrenko

I personally have not heard many of Shostakovich's music which are not his symphonies, concertoes or quartets. I really enjoyed this piece.

Robin said...

I meant to say before that I hope that Vasily's concerts with the Philharmonia go well and that the performances result in lots of sales of Shostakovich symphony discs!

Talking of Shostakovich, I don't know the Execution of Stepan Razin either, so thanks to Violin Player for mentioning it. I'll look out for a recording.

I absolutely agree, Ruth, that we need to keep this venue question on the boil to show that we feel strongly about it (and we need to make others feel strongly about it too). It would be easy to let it slide just because nothing happens. When the time is right I also think that the Phil management should give an opportunity like the WNO focus group. In fact, I think that at a certain point we should demand it! In the meantime, we just need to keep plugging away where we can - and I'm glad that Jill's going to keep at Sefton! Who's going to take on the rest?

Ruth mentioned the possibility of WNO helping with a new hall, but I'd expect they'd have far too much else on their plate to give more than moral support. Nick mentioned on a previous posting asking the Welsh National Assembly in view of all the concert-goers from North Wales, but this also seems a bit optimistic. I mentioned this at the AGM and Michael Eakin said they'd tried for Welsh Arts Council funding without success!

Incidentally,at the AGM it was revealed that we are going to get more opera at the Phil in future seasons - Vasily being a great opera man and the European Opera Centre being on our doorstep - and maybe this will help to kindle more interest in opera in Liverpool. Actually, to rekindle an interest because I'm old enough to remember when ENO came to Liverpool as well as 2 WNO annual visits. This is a long time ago, so it's obviously going to take some effort to get opera back on to the Liverpool map.

As Jill says, perhaps the ENB would also give support for a new hall if it could stage ballet. Ballet seems to do better with Liverpool audiences.

The piece in the Independent mentioning the coughing acoustic was also a very good mini-review of the concert. It would be wonderful to have a hall in which the acoustic was designed to minimise coughing, but better still for some of the coughers to learn some consideration for the musicians and the rest of the audience.

Looking forward to seeing Libor again in this week's concert, as well as the excellent Kathryn Stott.

Best to all.

jean said...

One big difference between Manchester, Birmingham and Gateshead on the one hand and Liverpool on the other is that the first three had no purpose-built concert hall before their new halls were built - Liverpool did.

It's a fine hall too, despite ite shortcomings. It's listed of course, so it can't simply be demolished, even if there were money for a new one. What do people think is going to happen to it?

I don't think the lack of car parking is any kind of argument in favour of a new hall. Why can't people in Liverpool get used to travelling to concerts by public transport, as they do in London?

jean said...

It is good to hear that there is to be more opera in Liverpool. I don't think we see nearly enough of the European Opera centre. I am also wondering what happened to Vasily's plans, which he outlined when he first came here (unless I misheard) to do some work with the WNO?

Like Ruth, I was invited to a WNO focus group. It appears that Liverpool is the only place they tour to where audience numbers are falling. This seemed to us to be largely down to the fact that there are more performances in Llandudno now, so people don't need to come here from North Wales.
Concentrating on the moset popular operas doesn't help either IMO - it seems to indicate a reliance upon bringing in a new audience at the expense of satisfying existing opera lovers who've seen 'Traviata' a million times already.

But all the same it's strange, when audiences at the Phil are growing. What discussions have there been between the two organisations behind the scenes?

Ruth said...

Hi All

Jill, absolutely no need to apologise. I know where you are coming from.

Violin-player, thanks for bringing Stepan Razin to our attention. I have heard the work a couple of times, once by, I think it was Gerard Schwarz, but was not really moved by the performances. I felt that there was a lot in the work that had been 'lost' and at the time I thought how good it would be to hear someone like Bernard Haitink conduct it. But, of course, now we have Vasily! Have listened to the broadcast on BBC iPlayer - much better! I would like to hear Vasily and our own orchestra give a performance of this work, which, I think does deserve to be heard a little more than it is. I guess it could be really special at home!!

Hello Jean, nice to hear from you. Phil audiences are growing because of Vasily, he is young, dynamic, a fantastic musician and has a great relationship with the orchestra which we can all feel as they make music together. He is also attracting a younger audience, which is what is needed. The future of music/opera/ballet and classical theatre lies in the hands of the young and unfortunately few are exposed to it as they develop these days. It is one thing attending a concert, be it schools or general, and its another thing listening to the music. As I have said before, if a new hall is commissioned, I would like to think that the current one would remain and become a centre for young people to learn and make music. I am sure it could be a good commercial venture and a way of ensuring audiences for the future.

I thank the WNO for 'hanging on' in Liverpool, and, reducing some of the tickets to £5!. Their recent production of Traviata was, in my opinion, one of their best. Only a few years ago we had five opera and three ballet companies coming to Liverpool. Now, with exception of WNO and FACT we have to travel to Manchester.

Unfortunately, music is still 'elitist', even within Phil audiences!!. I would love to have it within my power to show what music and the arts (and sport, because I'm also a sports fanatic) can do for peoples lives.

Vasily said...

Hello everyone!
Thanks for your answers - some of you been right, it's National Unity Day at 4th November, very "new" fest from current regime with idea to overshadow Revolution Day (7th November). Quite controversional...
Few other things:
- unfortunately no chances to invite Kirill Karabits (one of my friends!) because of unofficial agreement between regional orchestras "to not invite chiefs of other orchestras"
- WNO and opera... I would love to make opera more popular in Liverpool and will try to do it more and more, but this is very difficult. Somehow people doesn't trust it and go to some other places; even our succesfull collaboration with European Opera Center had problems to sell a tickets. Maybe it's a habbit which grow up only with regular visits to the theater...
- Execution of Stepan Razin is a great piece and I would love to do it in Liverpool, but it's VERY difficult for chorus and I'm not sure that our choir will be able to coop with it. In this BBC recording three choruses (London Symphony Choir, BBC Choir and Cardiff Choir) been working very hard together and spent about two months with russian tutors to get this quality!
- don't worry about demolition of Philharmonic Hall, it'll never happen! Even if decision about built-on-side will be taken, current building will stay. But I still believe strongly in a new spectacular building, rather then "improvement" and "refurbishment". Working this week with Philhamonia in 5 different venues I can clearly see how much does a quality of the hall means! Dream big, please )))

Robin said...

Hi Vasily and All

Absolutely agree that the present hall will stay whatever happens - it is fine and there are all sorts of continuing uses for it even if we can get a new hall. BUT the present hall simply cannot be adapted well enough to provide an arts venue suitable for now and different sorts of performance(not just a standard hall), so we do need a new one. AND, though we had a purpose-built concert hall, it was built without public money and is now outdated, so I don't think it's unreasonable that Liverpool should get money for a new one like the other cities in Britain! A new hall, as Vasily has said, is also about regeneration, new economic growth and pulling in tourists, so I am absolutely with him that we need to DREAM BIG!

Thanks for taking a few minutes from your busy time with the Philharmonia to write, Vasily, and I'm glad some people answered National Unity Day correctly. I'm afraid I was behind the times and thought of Revolution day!

We lost audiences for classical concerts very badly over many years and finally they are building again with much improved management and musical inspiration and maestro charisma. It might take much more work to build opera audiences again, but they were there before, so it can't be impossible. As some of us have said, there used to be a good amount of opera in the City - and not all of the audience have gone to Llandudno performances!

Hope that Stepan Razin is possible some time, though clearly the Phil Choir is short of singers at the moment, so clearly not the time to do something very difficult... but in the future, what about doing it with Manchester and Leeds choirs. The Phil Choir in the past worked quite a lot with the Leeds Chorus.

A pity about Karabits - we could all go on trips to the Poole Lighthouse, but I'm happy to be in Liverpool with Vasily and the other really good conductors we're getting!

Jane. said...

Hello.

Thank you Vasily, for answering my question about Krill Karabits. What a pity! Talking about the choir, I am auditioning for it this evening (unfortunately)! I wish I hadn't as I haven't been in a choir for years. As for sight-reading, all I can say is thank god for the use of the internet!!

Ed said...

Hello Vasily:

I first became aware of your fantastic conducting genius after purchasing the Tchaikovsky "Manred" Symphony on NAXOS: completely overwhelmed, I longed to hear you conduct a live concert. Terribly excited when it was announced that you would be conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra in October....I planned to be there for all 3 concerts. Most unfortunately, I developed a terrible cold and could not attend... an enormous regret.

I was able to listen to the live broadcast of the Friday afternoon concert. Rarely, if ever, has the BSO played with such technical brilliance or with such emotional intensity. In 50 years of attending concerts.. this performance rates in the top 10!..even though I was not in the audience.

I hope you loved performing in Symphony Hall.. it's my second home! I've attended about 2,000 or more concerts there!

I will be following your career with enormous interest..
RLPO is surely one of the world's greatest orchestras!!

I've ordered your latest records online...can't wait for their arrival..

Wishing you great success in future...
PLEASE return to Boston.

Ed Burke

jill said...

Hi everyone, I am going to let the side down by confessing that I don't like opera. That's not to say I have never enjoyed a performance because I have enjoyed several and I like opera music and I have enjoyed singing opera choruses, but despite trying over many years and even when I know the story backwards, there is something about watching opera that I just can't take to. Despite that I did very much enjoy the one act operas at the Phil with EOC and would certainly attend more of those. Perhaps I need small helpings to begin with!

I am glad there is a bigger group here pushing for a spectacular new hall and I will certainly support anything to achieve it. I wonder who owns that piece of land that Ruth mentioned. if it's Liverpool Council that might be worth pursuing. Even though there is no money at the moment, we need to have the ball well and truly rolling when funds become available so they will see we are all serious about it.

I enjoyed last night's concert with Libor, there were a lot more young people than usual and I felt I was on a school trip with the chatter before and after, but I won't criticise their behaviour because we need them to enjoy the Phil and come back. I hope they don't read the Daily Post review.

Jane, best of luck at your audition this evening, what voice do you have? I have just moved from A2 to T1 in my local choir but Ian Tracey doesn't like female tenors (I hear). Not that I am thinking of applying anyway, but wish you all the best.

I am composing my letter to Sefton Council and will let you know if and when I get a reply.

I read about President Medvedev's annual speech to the nation in Russia when he apparently said that some of Mr Putin's enormous, nationalised businesses "have no future". We are all expecting Mr Putin to return to the presidency, but does this indicate a little split? Is it safe to ask this, I don't want you arrested or getting in any trouble, Vasily. You were keen on us getting to know Russia at one time, that's why I am asking, but feel free to ignore me.
Hope all is going well with the Philharmonia and look forward to great reviews.

Jill

Jane. said...

Dear Jill,

Thanks for your comment. The audition was extremely hard, however, I am glad that I tried for it. I don't think my sore throat improved matters! Like you, I am also an alto. I enjoyed the first half of last night's concert, however, I was too tired for the second.

Robin said...

Hi all

Just see this tremendous review (headed Vasily Petrenko: the Russian Scouser storms London) by Ed Seckerson of Vasily's concert with the Philharmonia at the RFH: http://www.theartsdesk.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=521:philharmonia-orchestra-petrenko-royal-festival-hall&Itemid=27
Congratulations Vasily (and Boris Giltburg and the Philharmonia)!

Meanwhile, back in Liverpool, I really enjoyed Libor's concert with Kathryn Stott this week - just good fun relaxing music. And if Kathryn was excellent as ever, Libor showed he still pulls a punch in an impressive performance of Les Biches. Glad that yesterday we didn't get the children rattling sweet wrapping all through the concert that Jill mentions at Wednesday's performance. Still maybe, as she says, they'll become concert goers (hopefully giving up the sweets).

Not everyone can like opera, Jill, so you don't have to apologise! It's not high on my personal list, though I keep trying, and I do think it's important. I've enjoyed quite a few though, including the EOC collaborations at the Phil, and I always like playing the disc Vasily and the orchestra made of Rothschild's Violin and The Gamblers.

They really do need singers for the Phil Choir, so glad that Jane attempted it and hope that more people will have a go (my voice is useless). I gather that Ian Tracey is quite demanding compared with his avuncular expression!

Next week I was going to try all three occasions for Weinberg, but have had to cancel the 10:10 (giving away our tickets to someone who wouldn't have gone otherwise, so that might get a convert). I'm looking forward, though, to the Rodewald on Monday and to the Requiem on Saturday because my knowledge of Weinberg is absolutely zero. I hope others will come in an adventurous spirit of discovery.

All the best

Robin said...

Another fantastic review of Vasily's concert with the Philharmonia at the RFH last week! It's by Peter Reed:

http://www.classicalsource.com/db_control/db_concert_review.php?id=7625

jill said...

Hi everyone
The two reviews for Vasily's concerts with Philharmonia are wonderful - nothing we didn't already know in Liverpool, but the publicity is fabulous and will hopefully lead to more national reviewers at the Phil.

Robin, what did you think of the concert this evening at St Georges Hall? That piece by Weinberg was stunning, can't wait for Wednesday and Saturday. I also loved the final piece with David Fanning on piano, not contemporary and not classical either, I couldn't make my mind up re style, but enjoyed it tremendously.

Robin, hope your friends enjoy Wednesday at Hope - and are not put off by the contemporary music! I will post a little report.

Jill

Robin said...

Hi Jill and all

Isn't it great the that reviewers of Vasily's concerts with other orchestras mention Liverpool so much. As Jill says, it's wonderful publicity and there's another good one in The Times today: (http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/music/live_reviews/article6918846.ece), not so complimentary to Boris Giltburg, unfortunately, but excellent for our maestro.

Jill: the Tchaikovsky was very pleasant and beautifully played last night, though terribly well known, but I was also bowled over by the Weinberg. It was incredible to be so impressed with something on the first hearing and I now have three CDs of Weinberg quartets to discover more! The Taneyev was new to me, too, and I also enjoyed it a lot - but still had the Weinberg ringing in my ears.

Having experienced Weinberg, I'm even sorrier now that I have to miss Lady Magnesia tomorrow, so I look forward to Jill's report. I'll let you know what my friends think as well. It will be their first contemporary concert, but they were very willing to try it. I was urging some people at the Rodewald last night to try 10:10 and they didn't dismiss the idea out of hand, so I'll keep on at them - they'd also like the Weinberg, so they were feeling receptive to things they haven't heard before.

Robin

jill said...

Hi everyone. Robin, what a shame you missed 10/10 this evening, it was a rare treat and wonderfully performed. The opening piece was magic, the mezzo Carolina Krogius sang and accompanied herself and finished prostrate on the floor. It was extremely clever and very well done.
Then came a world premier of Stages by Matthew Fairclough. He usually works with electronics and I think this was his first piece for an ensemble of "normal" players. It was made up of overlapping themes and, again, was super and a joy to listen to.
Stephen Pratt was next with his Lovebytes with the lovely Emma Morwood singing.
After the interval it was the Weinberg and this absolutely put the icing on the best 10/10 and one of the best ever concerts I have attended. The opera story line was very amusing, with shades of Oscar Wilde and GB Shaw. The music was played on a fantastic array of instruments, harmonium, regular strings, woodwind, brass, drum kit, synthesizer, saxaphone, piano (plus 'heavenly choir', recorded). The four performers were outstanding (all trained at RNCM), we heard every single word and their acting was excellent, right down to the smirks and other funny faces. The applause at the end lasted for five minutes easily and there was also stamping of feet from both the audience and the orchestra. I simply didn't want it to end, you will be so sorry you missed it and I hope your friends were entertained - I am sure they were, it would be hard not to be. My friend and I are now so excited about the Weinberg Requiem on Saturday
The length of this post will confirm how much I enjoyed the whole concert. The entire Weinberg experience has been wonderful and thanks to Vasily for pointing it out to us at the new season announcement.

Jill

Robin said...

Hi Jill

Thanks for posting this very full review of what sounds like a really enjoyable concert! I'm even sorrier now that I had to miss it, of course, though it was unavoidable and I'll let you know what my friends who got the tickets thought when I hear from them. Having heard the Weinberg at the Rodewald on Monday, and seeing what you thought of last night's piece, I'm looking forward more than ever to the Requiem on Saturday.

All the best

Robin

Robin said...

Hi All

I still haven't heard from my friends who went to last week's 10:10 concert instead of me, but I see that David Fanning in The Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/classicalconcertreviews/6637739/Weinberg-Requiem-at-Philharmonic-Hall-Liverpool-review.html) agrees with Jill that Lady Magnesia was absolutely splendid!

As to Saturday's premiere of Weinberg's Requiem on Saturday, I enjoyed it greatly and found it very moving in places. I didn't agree with a few people I saw afterwards that it was a bit tedious in the middle or with Richard Morrison in The Times (http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/music/live_reviews/article6928404.ece) that the finale had 'the dreariest music'. In fact, I found it much more impressive than either Fanning or Morrison (not that their reviews are at all bad). I'm glad that Morrison mentioned the performance of the soprano Asmik Grigorian, who was absolutely outstanding. The lads of the Metropolitan Cathedral choir, as Joe Riley said in the Echo (wrongly attributed to 'Pamela Hoey'), also deserve mention. The reviews of both Lady Magnesia and the Requiem in The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/nov/23/lady-magnesia-requiem-review) aren't bad, but not very informative.

Incidentally, if you follow The Times link above, you'll find that the Phil briefly became the Royal LONDON Philharmonic!

In the interval at Saturday's concert I bumped into members of the Danel Quartet, who had played Weinberg's 6th string quartet at the Rodewald concert last week, and had a very pleasant chat.

Going back to established repertoire, this Thursday's concert should be exceptional!

Robin

violin player said...

Royal London Philharmonic Orchestra!!!!

Has RLPO moved down south?

jill said...

Hi everyone, so glad Robin that you enjoyed the Requiem. We met some friends in the foyer afterwards who weren't sure, so I think I was lucky to have heard other pieces by him beforehand. Apparently the choir parts were quite repetitive and boring to sing, but I thought the boys did brilliantly, despite dropping the tuning fork. My favourite part was the harpsichord and celeste interlude. Wasn't the soprano fabulous, what a voice. I think all the 3 star reviews were because the music is not well known, but professional critics should be able to judge a new piece, I would have thought.

ViolinPlayer - my dad used to say to me "never believe what you read in the newspapers". Someone checking that copy will no doubt lose this year's bonus (hopefully, but don't hold your breath).

I am going to the concert on Sunday, but nothing after that until 2010 except the carols on 18/12. As I will be singing carols myself on 5,12,15,17 & 19 Dec, I won't have any time spare for the Phil!

So an early Merry Christmas to everyone on the blog (including Vasily of course)and see you next year!

Oh, just seen the news on Phil.com about the latest awards for their white board widget thingy.

Jill

Robin said...

Hi all

Just as we get the official confirmation that the orchestra's going to Shanghai next year (great news), we got another fantastic concert on Thursday. Things just keep getting better and I hope that Jill and others going to the concert on Sunday enjoy it as much as so many of us did on Thursday.

I have never decided which of Brahms' 1st or 2nd piano concertos I like best and sometimes I've cogitated this while listening to a performance of one or the other. But no such thoughts disturbed me on Thursday when Arcadi Volodos' performance (and the orchestra's) of the 2nd just held me spell-bound. I hope we can get him back to work some similar magic with Vasily in the future. In quite different mood, Vasily led our tremendous band in an absolutely gripping account of Tchaikovsky's 4th symphony. I first heard this live when sitting in the Phil choir stalls in the early 1970s, so it was good to see people sitting there on Thursday night to hear the best live performance I've ever heard of this symphony. I hope someone engages Vasily to record a Tchaikovsky symphony cycle.

Certainly, violin player, don't believe everything you read in the papers! They're always giving 4 stars to 5-star Phil concerts...

After the concert on Sunday, enjoy all your carol singing, but there may be things you'll have time to comment on while you are away from the Phil. I'm going to Czech Delight next week and then nothing until the NYO in January - hoping that both concerts sell a lot more tickets as they deserve to before they take place.

Best

violin player said...

Just to confirm I realised that it was a misprint and that the orchestra were not relocating.

Ruth said...

Hello Everyone

Wow! what a concert on Thursday!!

I agree Robin, we must see Arcadi and Vasily together again in the future - perhaps with Rachmaninov or Tchaikovsky?? - what do you think?. I hope it can be arranged.
The Tchaikovsky 4th - what can I say - absolutely superb; the Orchestra,with Vasily, was fantastic and it was most certainly the best live performance I've ever heard of any Tchaikovsky Symphony.

To go back to Weinberg - I thoroughly enjoyed the Quartet, liked Lady Magnesia, and the Requiem left me thinking. I hope that it will be recorded before too long because I would like to hear the work a few times in order to try to understand it better. I felt it needed to move on in parts, but I may be wrong.

Great news that the Orchestra is going to Shanghai next year. I hope that the powers that be, the Council, remember the new hall whilst they're there!!!.

Enjoy your carol singing Jill. You're in for a treat on Sunday!!.

Thanks to Vasily, the Orchestra and Arcadi Volodos for Thursday's concert.

Ruth

jill said...

I just had to thank Vasily and the orchestra for this afternoon's concert. Like Robin and Ruth I thought it was superb, magical, spellbinding, outstanding. The Brahms with Arcadi Volodos must be the finest piano playing I have heard at the Phil and what a fabulous play by the orchestra. I am not always fond of piano because there are always parts you can't hear, but today the orchestra was perfect and I heard even the softest piano notes clearly. My friend is in Huddersfield at a COMA (contemporary music)workshop, but she will be sorry she missed this.
There was plenty of room in the hall too and I had a perfect view of everything. I must say I like it when the strings are moved around, you can hear everyone more clearly and the balance is much better, I think.

I had a "hello" letter from the new Development chief, Christopher Allen. I told him we on the blog are keen to support the new hall idea and he promised to read the blog to get our ideas and thinks a focus group could be arranged some time. I suggested we should all be invited, but of course we would have to attend under false names, to maintain our anonymity!
I have written to Sefton Council about their miserable financial contribution to the Phil. I await their reply, will let you know what they say.

Jill

Jane. said...

Hello.

Your idea about a series of focus groups would be a good idea Jill. Perhaps we should call it 'Phil Pride' and it should encompass all age groups, in order to get a more realistic picture of the public's interest for a new hall.

Romantic Destiny last week did live up to its name. I have just read about Ekaterina Shcherbachenko and Yevgeny Sudhin. Would we ever get to hear them at the Phil please?

(P.S. The picture of the superlambbanana is my protest against the penguins)!

jill said...

Jane, I am intrigued. Why are you protesting about the penguins? I thought drawing attention to endangered species was a good thing.
Don't get too excited about focus groups, the man only promised to read the blog and he's new to the job, so probably won't want to make too many demands just yet.
Jill

Jane. said...

Dear Jill,

Its just that I prefered the Go super lamb bananas to the Go penguins. The lamb bananas were original and unique, however, the penguins for me just don't work.

In relation to the focus groups, just blame uni!

jill said...

Hi all
I had a reply from Sefton Council today. They currently give £22,000and a review is underway (don't get excited). He described my letter as "very eloquent advocacy" for the orchestra and suggested I send it to my local ward Councillors plus local press and radio stations. I am not saying this to blow my own trumpet, but I will spread my message around different sources and see what happens. I have asked the Phil how £22,000 compares with the cost of a concert. Watch this space!

Jill

Robin said...

Hello everyone

The concert last week conducted by Tomáš Netopil was very pleasant with a vigorous performance of the overture from The Bartered Bride and, though I’m not great on Mozart concertos, a nice performance on the violin by Mirijam Contzen. Netopil conducted Dvořák’s seventh symphony in grand style with great playing from the band as usual.

I still can’t find out when the third Vasily/Phil Shostakovich disc will be released, but in the meantime Edward Seckerson has now started his podcasts at The Arts Desk of interviews with Vasily on the whole series, starting with the two discs already released. Do listen to this – absolutely fascinating (as well as wonderful PR!). Here’s a link:

http://www.theartsdesk.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=624:the-seckerson-tapes-petrenko%27s-shostakovich&Itemid=29

Going back a few posts, I do agree with Ruth that it would be great if there was a recording of Weinberg’s Requiem so that there could be more understanding (and appreciation) than one hearing can bring. I’m sure that there must be a recording sometime and hope very much that there’s a recording company brave enough to take it on. In the meantime I’m continuing to enjoy discovering Weinberg’s string quartets from the discs I bought at the Rodewald concert. I hope, too, that our wishes for the return of Volodos playing with Vasily will be heard!

I’m glad, Jill, you put Christopher Allen in touch with this Blog and encouraged him to read the views on the possibility of a new hall – there are a lot of them if he reads back! It would be great, at an appropriate time, for the management to arrange a focus group or some other forum on this issue. Of course, when he got the job, Christopher Allen probably didn’t realise that many of us are expecting him to help raise a vast amount to build a new venue … by the way, did you see the story about the school that was denied state funding for new buildings – it went ahead on its own and raised £26 million from private sources. Of course, a new concert venue needs much, much more, but it makes you think.

Talking of funding, well done Jill in getting a response from Sefton Council on its miserly support for the Phil! Please keep at them and, if anyone can have a go at the other non-Liverpool councils, it would be great. Those of us in Liverpool need to keep lobbying, too, so that the city Council keeps up its support. I don’t know how much a concert costs to put on and it will be interesting, Jill, to hear what response you get from the Phil on this. I suspect that you don’t get much of a concert for £22,000…

Looking forward, I’ve just realised that Vasily’s conducting the NYO at the Phil on Russian Christmas day, so all the more reason for everyone to turn up for the concert – I hope everyone reading this blog has bought a ticket. Vasily conducts another great programme on 16 January, just two days after the [Old] Russian New Year, so he’ll presumably be rehearsing rather than celebrating.

All the best

jill said...

Hello everyone.
I was delighted with the prompt response from Sefton, although not with the letter, which gave all the usual excuses. I had mentioned the £1.5m from Liverpool and Sefton's head of culture actually suggested that amount included Arts Council and other funding. Am I right in saying that Liverpool Council has given £1.5m from 2008 for 3 years? I haven't quite worked out how to go about the local press and radio stations. I wondered about imploring Phil fans to write in support of my plea for more money, but I could be let down, which would be worse than nothing at all. I will certainly write back to Mr Taylor when I hear from the Phil. If Sefton don't even fund a single concert it is a disgrace. He told me he had spoken to the Phil about its smaller ensembles performing in Sefton and working with the education body. I hope the Phil charge an appropriate fee for that.

That podcast with Ed Seckerson is a free download from the Independent too, I got it there several days ago and have listened to it twice now. According to Bachtrack Vasily is in Liverpool on 7 January, St Petersburg on 10 Jan and Liverpool on 16 Jan. I don't know about rehearsing, he will be dizzy with all that travel backwards and forwards. Vasily, I guess you are too busy to complete the diary on your blog. Couldn't someone else do it for you, we miss not knowing where you are, we want to follow every minute of your career so we can read the reviews.
That school you mention, Robin, it wouldn't be in deepest Home Counties would it? What we need is to round up all the support and get people signed up. There must be lots of others sharing our desire for a new hall, but where are they - there must be a way to identify how much support there is.

We have tickets for NYO and 16 Jan (with Messiah between). Did I say I wouldn't be writing again during 2009? Famous last words.

Jill

Robin said...

Hi Jill

The man in Sefton is wrong about the money and you are correct. Liverpool gives just under £1.5million a year to the Phil (guaranteed to 2011) and the Arts Council gives over £1.5million, so you can tell him that! I certainly hope that the Phil doesn't do anything much free of charge for £22,000! The school I mentioned is in Wiltshire, I think, so there probably would be more money around down there.

I can't think how to gauge the support for a new hall, but will think about this for the New Year because this won't be the best time to try and move forward on anything other than Christmas...

I hadn't realised that Vasily would be in st Petersburg between his two Liverpool dates in January - definitely dizzy! I usually look on Bachtrack, but hadn't. It would be good if someone could do V's blog diary because it's interesting to know what he's up to round the world. (Actually, of course, he has three Liverpool dates before jetting off to Los Angeles at the end of January.)

You did say you wouldn't be writing again in 2009, but don't stay away!

Best wishes

Sesja said...

I know about you from an tube's poster. I liked the look that you had on your face so I thought"this guy must love what he's doing".All the time I was passing next to the posters and forgot about it until I've pictured it and looked on the internet about you. Makes me feel sorry 'cos I've missed the George Enescu's Festival.
Anyway..All the best!