Wednesday, 9 December 2009

With a hint of snow!

Hello everyone from a cold snowy St.Petersburg (less than inch of snow and melting due to +4 today!) At least, no rains everyday )))
Enjoying peace and tranquillity for a couple of days in my home town, and more precisely in a country-house, is a rare time in my life. Re-reading Chekhov, Dostoevsky and, of course, music scores, walking on the silent streets of this village... next time I’ll be able to do it by the end of July.
It’s been quite intensive and exciting couple of months from beginning of season, we’ve got a few awards with RLPO, and you’ve attended a few decent concerts! Last weeks in London (and Cheltenham, Basingstoke, Cambridge), Liverpool (and Blackburn) and Oslo (and...Oslo one more time) were very interesting for me and quite tough because of flu around, which cost a lot of replacements in orchestras, sometime in a very last moment!
Briefly, Philharmonia went very well and I have a huge respect for musicians, who work all around the year and all around the World (we rehearsed with them in East Croydon, week after mine they’ve travelled in Europe with Mahler 9 every night in a different town!) in such a difficult schedule and still give a huge energy in a concerts. We will play together again quite soon. Brahms/Tchaikovsky concert was really exciting because of Arcadi’s great playing and because of clear sign of progress, which RLPO made since 2006, when we’ve performed 4th Symphony first time. Oslo Philharmonic did amazing concerts with Prokofiev 5 and Elgar Violin Concerto and it’s been very easy to understand each other (perhaps because of Mariss) and I felt very comfortable instead of extreme prices in the shops and restaurants. Actually it’s a great way of savings – look, don’t buy and think how much you saved! ;)
Answering question about upcoming concerts: 22nd December Salamanca, 23rd December Valladolid with Julia Lezhneva; 6th January Stoke-on-Trent, 7th January Liverpool with NYO; 10th January St.Petersburg Mahler 3, 16th January Liverpool Mahler 1. And so on till late summer!

35 comments:

Robin said...

Hi Vasily

Greetings from sunny Liverpool - a great day with no rain in sight!

Good to hear from you, as it sounds as if you are having a restful time for a change. What a pity there's not enough snow for a ride in a troika! Snow is fine in the countryside, but horrible in the city, so I'm glad we don't get much in Liverpool.

We've had some fantastic concerts in Liverpool and I'm sure we are all really pleased that your concerts everywhere else have gone so well. We try to follow you, but you move so quickly around that it's difficult to keep up with your incredible schedule. Hope that you have a good rest before it all starts up again. Looking forward to your return to Liverpool with the NYO in January and to the Mahler later in the month. It was interesting to hear you with Ed Seckerson comparing the composition practices of Mahler and Shostakovich.

The Philharmonia sounds a tough life and leading two orchestras must give James Clark quite a schedule too. Did he lead the orchestra for your Philharmonia concerts or was it one of the other leaders? It's great that we have James in Liverpool for so many concerts.

Do you know when your next Shostakovich disc is being released.

Best wishes

Jane. said...

Hello.

St Petersburg sounds lovely, however, it is raining here in Wallasey at the moment. Yesterday I was at the phil for my Masters graduation and some of the stewards recognised me!

Enjoy the hint of snow!

jill said...

Hi everyone. Vasily, it's good to hear that you are relaxing in St Petersburg, a rare treat indeed. Hope your family are with you! I am currently in Buckingham visiting my sister and spent today in Oxford. Back to Liverpool tomorrow.

Congratulations Jane on your Masters! Does this mean you will be leaving Liverpool, or do you live here anyway?

I am so looking forward to getting back to the Phil next year. The concerts so far have all been fantastic, I believe I have enjoyed this season the best so far and am really excited about 2010. I also enjoyed your chat with Ed Seckerson and look forward to more. Enjoy the rest of your stay in St Petersburg and hope you get as much snow as you want before you return here. Glad to hear you managed to avoid the flu!

Jill

Jane. said...

Hi,

Thanks Jill. I live on the Wirral and I am now doing a PhD at Liverpool Uni. Last week I was at Oxford for a conference but only for a day. I really wanted to explore the city, maybe in July. Hope you enjoyed your time in Oxford Jill?

Happy Christmas!

jill said...

Hi again, now back home in Liverpool, good journey despite fog. I enjoyed Oxford as everything you need is right there is the one place, shopping, eating, sightseeing etc. It takes about 40 mins from my sister's on the express bus.

Vasily - would the country house you mention be the former home of your grandparents? You talked about it at some length in an early interview with Roger Phillips of Radio Merseyside, about your summer holidays from school. It seems you have managed to keep it and it's good to have a nice childhood memory that you can re-visit. It will be a lovely change from your usual hectic schedule - enjoy!

I got some financial info from Michael Eakin so will get back to Sefton as soon as I unpack and relax!

Jill

jill said...

Hi, its me again. Robin, I read on Naxos (I think) that the next Phil CD will be no: 8, due out in May 2010. This is not what I understood from himself, he definitely said 12 to me,but maybe he was talking about the next symphony to be recorded. Have to wait and see.
Jill

Robin said...

Hi Jill

Thanks for the Naxos info - what a long time there is between recording and disc release!! I think they recorded no. 8 in the summer.

Looking forward to the next stage in your correspondence with Sefton Council. Am trying to get someone to have a go at Wirral, but without success yet.

Robin

jill said...

Hello everyone and Happy New Year before I forget. I have written again to Sefton having received some financial info from Michael Eakin. It is now known that Sefton support the Phil for less than one day a year (gross) and about two days net! I will await the response with interest and let you know.

Hi Vasily, it seems you are having a "western" Christmas in December, since you are to be in Blackpool for the NYO workshop before their concert on 7 January. I am looking forward so much to seeing them. I also hope that security issues calm down a bit before you travel to LA at the end of the month and that you manage to have access to your scores or books during the flight - otherwise it will be a very long journey! Hope you are travelling first class for some extra leg room.

There was something in the Post/Echo about an extension at the Arena site - if £45m can be found! I commented that it should include a new concert hall for the Phil but the comments are not appearing properly on my computer so I cannot see any response and now the article has disappeared to the back pages. Even if it didn't happen for years, it would be fabulous, perhaps we should keep this on the boil and see what we can find out. The proposal is for an exhibition space.

Hope everyone enjoyed Christmas and a very Happy New Year to all, especially Vasily and the Orchestra.

jill

Robin said...

Hello All

A very Happy New Year to Vasily, to everyone who joins in this blog, to our wonderful bands and choirs and the the management that has made so much happen. Let's hope that 2010 is even better for the Phil and that we see some progress on improved/new facilities!

Jill: I'm surprised that Sefton Council's contribution even supports the Phil as much as that, miserly as it is! Looking forward to your reply from the Council. I noticed the story about the possible £45 million extension at the Arena, but only one mention and the story seems to have disappeared. (Today's story about the reopening of the Neptune Theatre is good news for culture in the City.)

Vasily: I hope the Spanish concerts before Christmas went well and that you're getting a short break before the next long phase of a hectic schedule. I'm also looking forward to the NYO concert in Liverpool and very glad to see there's a full house. Also looking forward to Mahler 1 and Bonbons before you jet off for the concerts in LA.

All the best again to all for 2010.

Robin

Jane. said...

Hi Jill and all,

Are you going to risk the concert tomorrow? The 'hint of snow' has brought the country to a stand still. 'Frozen Britain'- the news has hit the nail on the head with that one! Just got home from work (which is in Birkenhead) after being let off early again. I hope I get paid for it!

Best wishes.

jill said...

To be honest, Jane, I don't know. I spoke to the Phil today. They said they are hoping not to cancel the concert they also said Hardman Street is closed to traffic and the pavements are icy. The overnight temperature is the problem, as it will delay a thaw. I shall make more enquiries tomorrow. I could go by train to Central and then walk up, but as an amputee I don't do walking on ice!! We don't even know if the NYO has left Blackpool yet - they might be stuck up there, or in Stoke on Trent overnight. It's all up in the air(in more ways than one). I shall speak to the Phil tomorrow and take their advice about the surrounding area and see what they say on the radio and at the local taxi firm. I would feel embarrassed if I had to be rescued while attending a social event - much as I want to go, it might be irresponsible. So the short answer is "no idea".
I also have tickets for Messiah on Sunday, so am hoping things are much better by then, although apparently more snow is forecast for Saturday. I hear Wirral is pretty bad too.

According to BBC NWT it is already -4 in Crosby as I write.

jill

Robin said...

Hello Everyone

It's not absolutely straightforward, of course, but I don't see why the orchestra can't get from Blackpool to Liverpool. If the concert's still on - no update on yesterday yet - I'm definitely going. Wouldn't miss it for the world!

I was in the city cente yesterday and pavements were pretty treacherous, so I'm hoping for some improvement today. If they can make it safe today to walk up from Central, that's probably the best option for people with easy access to Merseyrail, which has kept running wonderfully.

Robin

Robin said...

Phil website now says that at this moment ALL PLANNED PERFORMANCES ARE GOING AHEAD. The City Council website says it has deployed staff to clear 'priority' pavements and there are buses running in Liverpool again, so let's hope!!

Robin

jill said...

Hi Robin, Hardman St is still closed to traffic and everyone describes the pavements as treacherous. Concert went ahead last night in Stoke. I am going to try to come by taxi, if I drive there is no guarantee I will park near the hall and walking is out of the question.

jill

Robin said...

Taxi sounds a good idea Jill! Still hoping they'll clear Hardman Street today, but of course no guarantee at all ... hope that you make it.

Robin

Jane. said...

Hello everyone!

I hope you were able to make the concert? I got as far as my front steps and then I slipped on some black ice. I have badly bruised my lower back and both my arms. I am now stuck at home until my first year PhD workshop on Wednesday.

jill said...

Oh Jane, what rotten luck and you missed a real treat. To think I considered not going! I found out on Thursday that Hardman St was closed for roadworks and not ice, so I took my car and had a very safe journey there and back. I arrived even earlier than usual and got the first disabled parking space outside the hall and some Phil staff helped me in. The concert was awesome, what an orchestra. They are absolutely in a class of their own for youth orchestras and they achieved a marvellous 'together' sound which was amazing with 160 bodies. They clearly love Vasily and were stamping and cheering as he came on. I think he had five extra calls at the end and there was a standing ovation. The music was fabulous too and the playing, some excellent solos and all sections got the opportunity to impress - which they did. Vasily will take the NYO to new levels of achievement - and to think we have him for another 6 years in Liverpool - we are SO LUCKY!!!

I am so sorry to hear about your fall, hope you are feeling better soon. The pavements everywhere are treacherous. I passed a sign at the pier head saying "snow on road, skid risk, slow down" and as if by magic there it was, snow on the road. I thought the streets in Liverpool centre were appalling, Catherine Street in particular was sheet ice. Anyway, it was worth all the trouble and it was a tremendous evening. I am still buzzing!

Take care
Jill

David said...

I managed to drive from Lancashire but the streets in Liverpool were very icy. The concert was a treat. I particularly enjoyed the Rachmaninov and Shostakovich. The enthusiasm of the playing was infectious. It was particularly impressive given that over half the orchestra was suffering from stomach bugis after a week in Blackpool. I'm not sure what is worse a tummy bug or a week in Blackpool.....!!!
Wonderful concert

Robin said...

I agree absolutely that the NYO with Vasily was a treat! It was a stupendous performance (whatever the small faults that critics have pointed out) and the talents of these young musicians augur for a bright musical future. I'd never heard the Rachmaninov before, so that was really interesting, and I was very impressed with the performances of Bartók's great parody of Shostakovich's 7th symphony as well as with Shostakovich's 5th.

I've never heard any of Hans Rott's music, so I'm greatly looking forward to discovering his Scherzo on Saturday as to what I am sure will be a wonderful performance of Mahler's first symphony. This should be a sell-out concert, so I hope there's going to e some more late interest!

violin player said...

New Rachmaninov CD - 1st of Feburary!

Robin said...

Thanks a lot for the info Violin Player! I'll look out for this.

I hadn't heard The Rock until the NYO concert last week, so it will be great to listen to it again. In case anyone wants more details, the disc's on Avie (AV2188) and also includes Rachmaninov: Symphonic Dances, Op. 45 and The Isle of the Dead - Symphonic Poem, Op. 29.

violin player said...

Shame it isn't on Naxos - it would be cheeper.

Robin said...

True about the price - it's listed at £12.75, about double the cost of a Naxos disc!

Robin said...

What a fantastic concert last night - many thanks to Vasily and all of the (very big) band.

I'm not great on Bach, but Mahler's orchestration had me hooked. And then to hear hear the Scherzo from Rott's symphony was just riveting and thrilling - it sounded like the inspiration for every one of Mahler's symphonies! No wonder Mahler was so in favour of Rott, but what a sad, short life Rott had. I must get a recording of the whole symphony, but perhaps Vasily, we could have a performance of the whole thing at the Phil?

Well, Rott (lots of very favourable audience comment) certainly got people in the mood for Mahler, though I'm always in the mood for Mahler's music! Last night's performance of Mahler's 1st symphony was certainly something to treasure and remember - absolutely remarkable, I almost stopped breathing. Several people said it was the best performance of the 1st they've ever hear heard, and I'm with them. Played Mahler's ochestration of Schubert's Death and the Maiden when I got home, which made a nice contrast.

Greatly looking forward to the rest of the Mahler Edition and I hope that the national critics are not going to ignore it in favour of the Manchester Mahler Cycle, which of course is getting massive BBC publicity. A pity both cycles started on the same night.

Going back to the cost of discs, I haven't checked this, but I'm told that if you order a CD listed under £8 from hmv.com, you'll get it very cheap because it will come from Jersey without VAT.

jill said...

Hi everyone. I agree with everything you say Robin the concert was superb. And what a sad story about young Mr Rott, the piece sounded very familiar and I realised why as soon as I heard the Mahler! Who can tell what might have been? My only disappointment of the night was the flute solos in the Bach. I attended the rehearsal and heard every note, but last night from the front circle I could not hear them at all unless they were solo, which was a shame. The Hamlet advert music I thought was simply exquisite, the tempo was magical.

I too am hoping for some national reviews and I am glad that the audience coughing wasn't quite as bad last night as it was in Messiah a week ago (it couldn't possibly have been worse!)

A busy time coming up at the Phil, I think I have 6 concerts in February, including Ian Bostridge and 10:10.

Thanks Vasily and everyone for last night. When I heard Everton's result later my day was complete!

Jill

Robin said...

It seems my fears may have been well-founded and the national critics focused on the Manchester Mahler last Saturday. Let's hope that they get to some of the Liverpool Mahler Edition soon...

... and I've got a bone to pick with the Mahler Society, which lists Liverpool Mahler concerts under the heading 'Manchester and the North'!!

Robin said...

I'm glad to say I wasn't completely right about the reviews! A good one of last Saturday in yesterday's Guardian, 4* the same as Manchester's performance on the same night.

Jane. said...

Hello everyone.

Yes, I enjoyed the Mahler concert too. Last night's concert was great apart from the extra interval (the fire alarm went off half way through the first half of the concert, resulting in a mass surprise from the orchestra).

I'll just checked facebook and thank you Jill for liking my idea to do a charity concert for the earthquake victims. I hope the phil might do one in the near future.

All the best.

jill said...

Hi Jane and everyone. Glad I was not there last night! I enjoyed Wednesday, not the most exciting concert, but very enjoyable with some viruoso playing and the jazz/Gershwin influences which I always like. I am looking forward to tomorrow and the Scottish concert, wondering where the bagpipes will enter (it's sometimes through the hall - we shall see).

I wonder what's happening about the proposed extension at the Convention Centre and if the Phil are interested in including a concert hall there. I have not had a reply to my second letter to Sefton Council - perhaps the level of my outrage upset the man! Or maybe he was surprised that I got information from the Phil management that showed Sefton up for the miserable misers they are. I will send a reminder.

Vasily, I hope you get to Los Angeles without too many hours sitting in airports and customs halls. Does your Russian passport cause any problems - some very well known artists have had problems getting into the UK lately, never mind America where they are more paranoid. Will you have the chance to meet Gustavo Dudamel? I see they have a youth orchestra project in LA similar to El Sistema and our own mini version at Faith School. Enjoy your trip anyway, the climate in LA is very pleasant, no humidity.

Jill

Robin said...

Hi Again

I went on Thursday and the extra interval was a little disconcerting, but I was incredibly impressed with the calm way afterwards that Jean-Efflam Bavouzet picked up the Ravel piano concerto in the long solo at the beginning of the second movement. The piano concerto was, for me, the highlight of the concert and full marks to Jean-Efflam, Vasily and the orchestra. I also enjoyed greatly Ravel’s Valses Nobles et Sentimentales and the Bizet Suite and, though the Berlioz was also a pleasure, I can never quite get to grips with Berlioz. A great pity that French music – except probably Debussy’s La Mer, Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune and other works – seems to keep audiences away. Quite inexplicable!

I’m not going to the Scottish music tonight, but am really looking forward to Journeys next Thursday with Jun Märkl. This should be a wonderful concert, as should the follow up a week on Sunday. Note that the Sunday concert has two pieces by Debussy and a good audience…

Jill: I haven’t seen anything more at all about the proposed extension art the Convention Centre, but will try to get a lead on it. I hope that Sefton Council are going to respond to you, though I see that the Council has just wielded a mighty axe to cut services, so people there may be preoccupied.

Vasily: I, too, hope that the performances of Manfred and the Beethoven Piano Concerto in Los Angeles go well. I see the pianist is Piotr Anderszewski, who is someone it would be fantastic to hear in Liverpool sometime. Jill may have a point about the weather in LA – though it can be pretty unbearable from May to August – but it is surely one of the nastiest cities in the world! Every American I know agrees with that, but if you’re conducting the City’s orchestra, I expect you have to be at least neutral, if not complimentary!

All best wishes

jill said...

Hi, I have only been to LA twice and not for many years, but I had a great time doing all the tourist things, Disneyland, Universal etc. I stayed with some cousins in the suburbs and felt quite safe. The climate, although very hot, is still much more pleasant than New York which is horribly humid for most of the year. There are 'no go' areas in every US city, although they did have a big problem with police brutality in LA in recent times.

Vasily, I heard on the BBC of a production of Prokofiev's War and Peace in Glasgow, for the first time using the original score without the changes demanded by the Soviet regime. Did you get to see it by any chance?

jill

Robin said...

Hi

Sure, there are some pleasant places in and around LA - parts of Beverley Hills, for example, and West Hollywood's really nice with good restaurants - as well as a short distance down the coast. But staying a week in downtown can be pretty scary at times, especially on a bus at night! Just go behind the main streets and you're in an urban jungle worse than anywhere I've been in the world, and I've been to some quite dangerous places. And gun deaths in LA are so frequent that nobody mentions them. Still, there are good things about everywhere.

Did you enjoy the Highland Fling concert, Jill? Some friends who went said it was very enjoyable, but they were surprised that the Hall wasn't more full.

Robin

jill said...

Robin, in my opinion you are describing any city in America, you will make Vasily nervous at this rate!
Yes, I did enjoy the Highland Fling concert, about 6 or 7 of the orchestra wore something tartan and the soloist on the fiddle was excellent, it was a real "knees-up" at the end. The hall was not full, but it was far from empty, most of the circle looked OK with just a couple of empty rows in the front circle which is the most expensive. Carl and Jean and the Scottish performers were in TLCW later and seemed to be having a good time. I was tapping my feet all the way home.

Jill

Robin said...

Glad you enjoyed the concert, Jill. It sounds very jolly - my friends said some of the violas were wearing 'Billy Connolly' wigs!

I remember Vasily saying once that he was walking in an area of Baltimore the police said they wouldn't walk around, so I don't think I'm going to scare him! And I still think LA's worse - downtown Boston and Chicago, for instance, are fine at night.

Vasily said...

Answering a couple of questions in this thread:
- Flight to LA went OK, even if I feel a bit strange with a personal check in Heathrow, when your bag, body and shoes checked by Asian immigrants in UK territory in interest of security of US...
- I think I’ve met Gustavo in one of conductors competitions years ago
- I don’t know any changes made in War and Peace by Prokofiev under pressure, so, maybe they’ve discovered something new?
- After surviving in 1990s in post-Soviet city I’m not afraid anymore of US downtowns or ghettos. But it doesn’t mean I’ll go for walk in dangerous areas without reason!
- Thanks a lot for your response to the last concerts!