Sunday, 31 January 2010

Hollywood

Overlooking the most famous estate advertisement in history, sunshine, +20 Celsius, bird’s singing, palms and orange trees... January? Paradise? Well, it might be a lot of different views on Los Angeles, but one is for sure – Walt Disney Concert Hall is one of the most spectacular buildings in the world. It’s great at day and at night and it has great interior, acoustic and facilities. And most important – it boosts a confidence and level of LA Phil and it’s sold out in a same night with Grammy ceremony, NFL, NHL and NBA games in the same city! So, it’s probably very vicious and dangerous city, but when I’m crossing the door of WDCH it’s a Dreamland (or Disneyland?). What about west coast of UK, apart from Millennium Centre?
I hope you’ve enjoyed last month concerts with NYO – Blackpool is a VERY quiet place in winter :), and a lot of respect to staffs and teens, who’s been working very hard in such a circumstances and played terrific concerts! Even more respects to Liverpoodlians visited my St.Petersburg’s concert in a middle of January, they’ve seen a real snow, not just miserable couple of inches with breakdown of the whole country )))
And, finally, to Mahler fans – Titan was very good, now so much looking forward to Resurrection and especially 3rd Symphony in May! In my point of view this edition is one of the most amazing projects of decade and unlikely you’ll have a chance to attend all symphonies in two seasons till middle of this century; so, grab a ticket or subscription!

62 comments:

******* said...

It was pleasure to be on your concert today! Absolutely fantastic! How you like Disney Hall acoustic? Sergey, Santa Monica

jill said...

Hi Vasily (the tall Russian dude) great review in the LA Times. Congratulations. What's it like doing a concert at 11am? I looked at the concert hall on line and it looked spectacular, seating all round etc. I am sure larger halls are thrilling, but we are spoilt in Liverpool as we can see you and the orchestra so clearly and that is part of my enjoyment.

I misled you slightly re War & Peace. On the Scottish Opera website there are several press articles about the production. It was the first ever performance of the original and first version, apparently Prokofiev wanted to concentrate on the love story, but the authorities wanted more heroics and triumphalism. They say this new version is to be performed in Russia in March and the Prokofiev family, plus some "officials" attended the Scotland performances. The director is Russian and she had access to the family and other archives in Russia. Pity you didn't hear about it as it was only on a couple of nights in Scotland and was a mammoth production.

We are never ready for snow in the UK as we hardly ever see it, especially in Liverpool which is so protected by the pennine hills and Welsh mountains. It would be a waste of money to be prepared for a 10/20/30 year event. But we love to moan and the government and local council are handy targets!

Looking forward to all concerts in February at the Phil, Hope and St Georges Hall, my bundle of tickets is diminishing fast. It is 7.30pm here so you will be preparing for your Sunday concert. Safe journey home.

Jill

violin player said...

Intresting about Prokofiev Jill. As a musician my self, some composers wrote many versions of same works that it gets very confusing. Prokofiev in particualar and also Bruckner (in some cases 3 versions of the same symphony). I think there are two version of Prokovief 4 for example. It would be a much easier world if composers just wrote one diffinative version!

jackscribe said...

Ha! "Tall Russian dude" cracks me up. Altho Jill should have added "handsome." Seriously, thank you for (1) taking the time to discuss the Manfred and your background at the pre-concert lecture, and (2) for taking the LA Phil on a fantastic Tchaikovsky musical adventure. I hope you'll return to Disney next season!

jill said...

Jackscribe, re. The tall, handsome, Russian dude -I was quoting the Los Angeles Times and a reader's post today says "he's better than Dudamel, you heard it here first". I am delighted to say, as a Liverpudlian, that "He's OURS!", although you can borrow him from time to time.

Jill

Robin said...

Hi Vasily

Thanks for your comments on the previous blog thread and your new message.

Though I seem to have started it, let’s not talk about the relative merits of cities because travel is a wonderful thing and there are pleasures to be had in visiting almost everywhere in the world! Glad to see you’ve made a hit in LA and, as Jill said, the LA Times review was great; and there’s a fantastic one, too, at www.suite101.com. Very nice, too, to see some LA fans writing on this blog. Referring to Jill's last comment, as you get more and more acclaim everywhere you go, I’m sure that everyone in Liverpool is more and more glad that you signed the contract extension. Thank goodness symphony orchestra contracts seem to be worth more than those at football clubs!

Yes, the Walt Disney Hall looks absolutely fantastic and your experience obviously confirms that it’s as good to play in and attend as it is to look at. We must all resume our interest and start pushing again for a great new facility in Liverpool – as you say, the UK West Coast probably has only the Millennium Centre, though I don’t know about the Glasgow City Halls (Radio 3 raves about this regenerated venue). Of course, selling out concerts in LA at the same time as other major events is not as difficult as in Liverpool – Greater LA has a population about EIGHT TIMES larger than that of Greater Liverpool…

But still concerts are selling out in Liverpool too. The Titan concert in Liverpool was great and I’m really looking forward to The Resurrection and the Third in the coming months. You are rightly urging people to buy tickets, but The Resurrection has been SOLD OUT for some time, so people need to be thinking ahead if they don’t want to be disappointed. Apart from the Mahler, I’ve enjoyed all the concerts this year, including the very pleasant recent Journeys concerts conducted by Jun Märkl, but should repeat that the NYO concert was terrific. There was audience loss because people gave into the weather, but I know lots of people who left it to late to be able to get a ticket for the NYO concert, so everyone needs to buy their tickets as soon as they can.

The first symphony I heard live (at the Phil nearly 40 years ago!) was Bruckner’s Fourth and I’ve been spellbound by Bruckner’s music ever since, so in addition to the Mahler, I’m getting quite excited about Bruckner’s Seventh. And then there’s Petruschka and loads more, including some very fine concerts this month as Jill has pointed out.

All the best

sang said...

Hi Vasily
What a wonderful concert at Disney concert hall on January 30( Sat ).
I and my friend enjoyed a lot both of Beethoven piano concerto No. 1 and
Tchaikovsky Manfred Symphony of course. I never heard Manfred symphony in live before and was deeply thrilled by your performance with LA Phill. Thank you for great concert and hope to see you soon at DCH.

By the way, did you have a brief Japanese food before concert with Piotr Anderszewski in little Tokyo on January 30, Saturday ? I thought I saw you and him there but I am not sure.

Titus said...

I wish, Vasily, you'd bring the RLPO south just once in a while – I'm in Reading. Despite having several recordings of Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances I had to have your new Avie release. And I'm also looking forward to hearing your recording of the Second & Third Piano Concertos with Simon Trpčeski!

Robin said...

Hi everyone

It’s nice to hear from people in LA and from Titus in Reading. I suppose, Titus, that most orchestras in Britain keep to a territorial patch, though being a big fan of the Liverpool Phil, I can understand you wanting them to visit your area! The band will be at the BBC Proms in the summer if that’s close enough for you.

Thanks to Vasily, Kun Woo Paik and the orchestra for another great concert last night. The Hindemith has been a huge favourite of mine for a long time – a shame that people are put off by the composer’s name and the rather boring title of the piece! – so it was absolutely thrilling to hear such an exciting performance, easily the most impressive live performance I’ve heard. In our house, too, Bartók’s third piano concerto is a favourite and we play it on CD often, so it was wonderful to hear the fantastic playing of the soloist and the orchestra. I’ve never been a great fan of Rachmaninov, but his music is growing on me and will grow more as I hear it crafted so magnificently by Vasily and played by the Phil whose sound really does just get better and better! Many thanks again.

In the interests of my education in Rachmaninov, I’ll certainly be getting the two new Avie discs that Titus has mentioned. Vasily seems to be forging a real ‘partnership’ with Simon Trpčeski (who is great) – I think he’s playing when Vasily debuts with the San Francisco Symphony.

On discs, I just bought and listened to the Phil’s new recording of Vaughan Williams’ Piano Concerto played by Ashley Wass and conducted by James Judd. It’s really worth listening to, especially as I’d never heard this concerto before.

On concerts, I’m really looking forward to 10:10 this week and to Joanna McGregor Mixing it Up. That should be a really interesting and unusual concert and it’s a pity more people aren’t (at the moment) giving it a try!

All the best

jill said...

Hi Vasily and everyone. I agree Saturday's concert was sensational, I loved everything, the evening was brilliant, thank you so much. I too am looking forward to 10:10 at Hope and then Joanna McGregor. I will be at the Patrons reception and concert (hope to say hello, Vasily) then the next Mahler and finally Ian Bostridge at St Georges Hall. A fantastic month.

Vasily, you are down at Glyndebourne for quite a long time, 12 performances I think of Macbeth. I imagined you moving your family down there temporarily to enjoy an English summer, but your son will still be at school for much of the time. Looks like lots of travelling back and forth for you! The production of Macbeth looks fantastic anyway, there are some pictures of previous performances on their website. Will you still have time to do the White Nights concert at the summer pops or will 22 May be your final date at the Phil for this season? I hope you all have some time in Russia during the summer.

Back to February and plenty to look forward to!

Jill

jill said...

Hi Robin, what did you think of this week's concerts? 10:10 was excellent, Lore Lixenburg has a fantastic voice and you really appreciate a musical 'ear' when you hear something like that. I only saw her use a tuning fork once, but what an achievement.
As for Joanne MacGregor last night, I thought it was magical, she is just brilliant. She was playing so fast in the Bach that I wondered why she had the music, but my friend who has seen her close up said she does read the music and it is handwritten and very tiny. The strings were brilliant too, I loved it all. Best of all the audience was full of 30somethings, which was great to see. I have a week off now, but will be back in the hall next Wednesday. What a seaason it is turning out to be.
Jill

Robin said...

Hi Jill

Yes, 10:10 was great and I really agree about Lore Lixenberg's voice, though Jennifer Johnston's was also appealing in a different way. I enjoyed the Howard and the Carpenter best - I wished they had the texts for the latter in the programme because from what I heard, I'd say they'd have been quite amusing.

Last night was a fantastic treat of a different sort of a concert. I'm a great fan of Joanna McGregor, who makes complexity seem so easy! I enjoyed Andy Sheppard, too, and all the strings, but I think we should say special thanks to James Clark, Kate Richardson, Fiona Winning, Jonathan Asgaard and Marcel Becker for the quintet. Brilliant playing! The Bach arrangements reminded me of Steve Martland's approach to Mozart - if you haven't heard it his disc 'Wolfgang' is really worth having (as well as some of his others). And yes, last night it was very good to see many people a lot younger than me in the audience.

I'm not going to Love Notes on Sunday - we've given our tickets to someone who will appreciate it much more - but am much looking forward to next week with Vasily and Ingrid Filter. I'm going on Thursday, not Wednesday, but this is indeed quite a season - someone who refuses to disclose secrets tells me we're going to have a lot to look forward to next season too...

Incidentally, going back, I notice that Vasily is doing both White Knights and the BBC Prom in between his Macbeth at Glyndebourne. Some good concerts this year in the Summer Pops.

jill said...

Hi, I agree about the quintet, they were all so "up for it". I cannot attend White Nights as I will be singing myself that night, but I will see the Manfred. I hear somewhere they are playing Manfred at the proms, so maybe the July concert is just keeping in touch with the piece.

I wanted to go to the Met Cathedral this weekend. We did a joint concert with the Uni Chamber Choir last December so it would have been nice to see them again, but unfortunately I was persuaded to attend a local amateur G&S production - deep joy!

Have you watched the Sky Arts film, it's attached to today's "what's on" e.mail from the Phil. Also available on Facebook.

jill

Titus said...

Buy the Rachmaninov disc, everyone – it's terrific! It's BBC Music Magazine's Disc of the Month. I agree with David Nice's assessment. The Symphonic Dances are superbly detailed, right from the precise opening through that wonderfully nostalgic interlude for saxophone in the First Dance to the prolonged tam-tam crash at the end of the Third. And The Isle of the Dead is filled with a really powerful mood of building ominousness, tempered intermittently by moments of wistfulness. I look forward to future issues in the Rachmaninov series!

Robin said...

Hi all

Going back to Jill, I'll certainly watch the Sky Arts film once I get the sound back on my computer - not a lot of point before then! I'll also watch the Hans Rott clip that's now on Phil Channel then.

Will certainly be getting the Rachmaninov disc (and then next one due in March) as so strongly recommended by Titus and hope that I like it equally fervently!

jill said...

Hello everyone. Well, this evening we had Chopin and Schumann - there's a change and very enjoyable it was too. I presume it's very much a compliment to have someone re-orchestrate your work later, but having read the programme notes re. horns with and without valves, I would be interested to hear what the original version sounds like, apparently not nearly so exciting.

I met some very old friends I had not seen for years at the patrons reception, also had a chat with Chris Allen and Joe Riley & Brian, both of whom I know. No applause from Joe at any time, so expect the usual "it was good, but..." report.

Have booked 3 of the summer pops concerts including Manfred and after the hints dropped this evening, looking forward very much to next year's brochure!

Jill

Robin said...

Hello all

In spite of Jill's fears, Joe's review of the concert isn't too bad (8/10). I don't think you can go by how much he applauds, but more by how he looks and what he says if you catch him immediately after a concert. I went last night and thought it was an enjoyable, bright and sparkling concert; I was impressed by Ingrid Fliter. It was good to hear the Invitation to the Dance again at the Phil after very many years, and to get Schumann in a concert, which is not that frequent. Schumann symphonies can often sound dull, but always trust Vasily to bring off a fresh and enjoyable approach!

I mentioned before that I'm a learner as far as Rachmaninov is concerned, but I listened a couple of days ago to the Phil and Vasily on the new disc of Symphonic Dances etc. and enjoyed it a lot. Rachmaninov seems to be growing on me!

At the moment my mind's fully on anticipation of The Resurrection next Thursday (and Ian Bostridge at St George's on the following Saturday, but must follow Jill and buy some Summer Pops tickets...

Best wishes

jill said...

Hi everyone, today's article in the Post and Echo about the Phil has led to an online discussion, in which I have taken part and am glad to say I have had some support (thanks to whoever). Someone mentions an opera house as part of the Wirral Waters development - anyone know anything about this?
jill

Robin said...

Hello all

I’ve seen the Daily Post story and glad to see that Jill got some debate going in relation to it. I haven’t heard anything about an opera house as part of Wirral Waters, but it seems unlikely somehow as it would need an organisation (certainly not Wirral Council on its present culture profile) and mega-money compared with anything needed for the Phil. Certainly not spec-build!! Wirral Waters is, in any case, much further away in time probably than Peel would like people to think. I still haven’t seen anything, either, about the possible Arena/Convention Centre extension.

The Phil story, of course, says nothing new. The Phil has just gone live with what they’ve been talking about for some time, both behind closed doors and in members’ meetings. I suppose this is part of a ‘strategy’ to get the debate into a wider arena to gather support for some expansion both in principle and to get influential organisations on side in terms of raising funding etc. In this respect, I think it’s disappointing that the Board is forging ahead with its ideas without engaging fully with the Phil’s membership and fans, and I hope they’ve got some plans to do this. My conviction remains unaltered: that this proposed redevelopment in Hope Street does not offer a long-term solution, which can only be provided by a new Hall appropriate to the raised profile of the Phil and the ambitions to reach still higher. Notwithstanding the financial difficulties of this option, it seems the only way I which the best possible solution can be provided both in terms and facilities and auditorium capacity. The latter cannot be increased on the present site and, just looking at the Phil website you can see by all the Sold Out and Limited Availability flashes that improved capacity is highly desirable.

This is not to say that there shouldn’t be improvements at the present Hall too – nobody would suggest that it should be put out of use – but these are not mutually exclusive. In some ways, though, spending £40m on redeveloping the present Hall will ‘waste’ money because it will not provide a proper, long-term, sustainable solution to the venue problem.

Perhaps this blog is not the place to say this, but this debate shouldn’t just be about Vasily, and I hope he’d agree. Sure, it’s fantastic to have him here and it’s incredible the difference he’s made, but we need to be talking too about the continuing ability to attract musicians to the orchestra and major soloists. And, though nobody wants Vasily to go after 2015, he may decide to for all sorts of reasons whatever solution is found to venue inadequacy. In case of that, we also need to be thinking about visiting conductors and how we attract someone of Vasily’s calibre if Vasily gets lured away!

Now that the Board has gone live, I repeat that I think it is time that they provided opportunities for us all to say what we think as well as to explain their thinking. Talking to the Press is no real alternative to that.

All best

jill said...

Hi everyone. Thanks Robin, I got support on both the Post and Echo websites. Re new/old hall - I wonder if there is real financial fear of taking on a new hall which would cost around £150M in the present economic climate. The country will be paying off debts for years to come and taking this option might end up with nothing at all because the costs are so high and nobody will fund such a commitment. We could end up almost drowning in an enormous pool of debt and competition.

I know there are problems with the current platform, although having comfortably accommodated the NYO......

With audience capacity I agree that many concerts are nearly/sold out, but a lot of these are non-classical and most of the sold out classical concerts involve Vasily or a very famous soloist. When there is contemporary or unusual music (even conducted by VP) audiences are smaller. We can't know for certain that some of the audience won't disappear with Vasily, some people clearly just come to see him. Is it better to have 1800 sold out than 2500+ rarely full? Liverpool is not a big city in terms of people, so is there an argument for staying unique compared with competing against the biggest?

I like the current hall for purely selfish reasons. I love being close to the orchestra, I can see everyone from my seat and its great. However, Vasily did describe the LA hall in glowing terms, so maybe he and the orchestra do feel cramped at the Phil. They are certainly cramped backstage and better rehearsal space and more comfort would make all their lives better.

I am not against a brand new fantastic concert hall, but in the current climate it might be a dream that can never come true. While we are wishing and waiting for the ultimate, the current hall will deteriorate further and could even drive people away.

With everyone else, I hope that Vasily stays for ever, but by 2015 (on current progress) he will be very famous and in great demand. However, I don't know how his mind works and he might prefer to continue guesting and have a base in Liverpool for his family. It didn't do Simon Rattle any harm to stay in Birmingham for 17 years. If that happened in Liverpool, Vasily could leave a great legacy in the shape of the new Vasily Petrenko Concert Hall. His continued presence would attract funding when the economic situation is more stable. Whether he or the Phil can do that in the next five years is not so certain, however much we want it. I know I sound negative, but I don't think we can ignore the economic situation which is going to be a millstone for a number of years.

jill

Robin said...

Hi Jill (and others)

Just a quick few points:

1. Of course, we have to think of the economic situation, but i think we should go for the best possible solution and fall back if necessary. Go for gold and get silver (or bronze) if that's all that can be achieved.

2. What is decided now (or in the next couple of years; these things can take a long time) will determine the future for a long time to come. If we don't get a new hall this time - and spend a huge sum on the present hall - there'll be no money for a new hall for at least 20 or 30 years. You don't get two bites of the cherry.

3. The sold-out non-classical concerts are just as important as the classical ones because they are part of the overall financial profile of the Phil and bring in money. I suspect that there are non-classical concerts that would sell out on a much larger capacity and bring in even more money. this can subsidise other Phil activities. Equally, some classical concerts (reliant on Vasily's pulling power or not) could sell a lot more tickets and it seems to me that we ought to be in a position to sell as many tickets as possible. Bigger halls in all the other major cities don't sell out for every concert, but at least they've got the capacity when they need it!

I'm sure we'll all be talking about this a lot in the next couple of years because in some ways the debate's only just beginning...

Immediately, though, it's impossible to express how much I'm looking forward to the Resurrection tomorrow. I hope everyone who is fortunate in being able to attend finds it a really fulfilling experience.

Best

jill said...

Robin, as ever you put me to shame being so positive and hopeful!
Would you expect the whole non-classical programme to move to a new hall with the Phil? I thought the current hall would remain whatever happens and I imagined the comedy and some other music shows might stay on Hope Street and possibly not be connected to the Phil at all.

I will be at the concerts this evening and Saturday.

Jill

Robin said...

I always try to travel hopefully Jill!! I think that if we got a new hall and kept the present one with improvements, there would be some movement in which concerts happened in which. It would be great if there was flexibility because that's what you really could have with two venues. though I imagine the ever-growing number of educational concerts would stay in the present hall. Perhaps 10:10 could move from Hope where the sound is fine, but the facilities rather basic and accessibility poor if you're not a driver. All sorts of things.

I'll be at the Phil later and at St George's on Saturday - both should be wonderful ... of course, with the Resurrection, because of accommodating the choir, the capacity is even less than usual. The Rodewalds are going from strength to strength - only a few tickets left for Ian Bostridge and Julius Drake, I gather from the most recent Phil email.

Enjoy the music!!

Robin said...

Vasily

What a concert you gave us last night! A million (and more) thanks to you, the soloists, the orchestra and the choir for such an incredible, memorable experience. I was exhausted listening, so you must all still be recovering...

I hadn't heard the Berg songs before, but this was a beautiful way to approach the storm that was to come. Glyn Mon Hughes in today's Daily Post describes the performance of the Resurrection as 'overwhelming' and it was certainly that. But it was so much more and words are incapable of describing the experience which was totally absorbing, powerful, blistering, searing, lyrical in the softer sequences and emotionally fulfilling. I have never before heard this symphony in such full glory and the performance will stay with me always.

Thank you so much again and again!

Robin

jill said...

I can't add anything to Robin's view of the concert, I agree with everything he says about the Mahler Everything about it was fabulous. Thank you from me too.
I was not able to hear Kate Royal very well in the Berg songs, but Catherine Wyn Rogers in particular was stunning in the Mahler.

Loved your new coat too Vasily, very suitable for Liverpool and yesterday was George Harrison's birthday - did you know that?

jill

Robin said...

Hi Jill

Yes, nifty new suit Vasily was wearing!

Glad you responded to the atrabilious comment by slavapiano on the DP website. He sounded very knowledgeable but so is Glyn Mon Hughes. Although I noticed a couple of dodgy horn passages (not much in a work of this scale and length), I couldn't recognise the concert slavapiano attended either!

Catherine Jones in the Echo has given it 10/10.

Robin

Vasily said...

Hello everyone!
Mahler 2 was quite a big happening, not only by music, but by the atmosphere in the hall, I agree.
I didn't know about George's birthday, and been in a new suit just because it's been ready (finally!)
And personally I wasn't exhausted by the end - this piece have such a positive character!!!

Robin said...

Glad the suit was ready in time Vasily - it seemed appropriate somehow. And whatever any critics - amateur or professional - have to say, the Berg songs were beautiful and the Mahler absolutely stunning.

I'll look forward to the Third and, before that, to the Bruckner at the beginning of May (and other concerts of course). Will this be the first time you've conducted a Bruckner symphony!

Jane. said...

Hello.

What a pity I missed the Mahler concert on Thursday judging by the reviews. I don't really understand about the plans to revamp the hall, its hard to picture at the moment. Will the phil be playing Manfred at the proms?

Jill, did you say that you were in a choir? I have recently joined 'E-Voices' at Liverpool uni and we have a concert soon if you want to come? If yes, its on Wednesday 24th March at VG&M from 1 to 2pm.

jill said...

Hello Jane, I was thinking about you recently and that we hadn't heard for a while. Yes, you missed a treat with both Mahler concerts. The extension plan, basically, is to have another building instead of the carpark at the side of the Phil and join the two with a bridge, which may house the new box office. The new building will give space and comfort to the musicians and admin staff, both of whom are cramped very badly at the moment. What else will go on there is not known, but perhaps a second concert venue or rehearsal space? There was also talk of extending the foyer bar around the sides of the building (similar to the Empire).
I understand it will cost around one third of the cost of a new hall, and you will see Robin strongly advocates going for gold with a new hall. It would be fantastic.....

Yes, I do sing in a choir and will come to your concert on 24 March, I am free that day. Is Curtis Perryman anything to do with it? We did a joint concert in December with his University Chamber Choir, at St Mary's in Walton. Richard Lea from the Met Cathedral played the organ.
There is a summer concert (18/7) of Manfred, but I did read somewhere they are doing it at the proms too. The official prog not yet announced, so it must have been someone at the Phil or maybe on the website.

Do you want to meet on 24/3 or shall we remain anonymous?
Jill

Jane. said...

Hi Jill and others.

Thanks for explaining the plans for the hall, but maybe a new hall might be for the best after all? I went to the 1st Mahler concert, which I really enjoyed. However, I haven't booked any more Mahler concerts due to work commitments.

By the way, the 'E-Voices' is run by Evgenia Petrenko. Which is why it's called e-voices, however, one of my friends thought it meant electronic voices! For more information check: liv.ac.uk/music/events/concerts. If you come, it would be nice to meet you. All the best.

jill said...

Jane, more and more people I speak to think a new hall is needed. I agree and I don't know why I am hesitant, it must be the vibes from the Phil staff! I will definitely come to your concert, it is on my calendar. I am glad that Mrs Petrenko is able to use her conducting skills, I had occasionally wondered about that.

I am just home from seeing Ian Bostridge at St George's Hall. He has a truly remarkable voice, one of the best singers I have ever heard, it was full too which was nice to see, although the tiered seating is very cramped.

Next Wednesday I am at 10:10 at Hope and before the concert is a short recital by the local NW COMA group (contemporary music for amateurs) my friend attends their summer schools and they sound like great fun.

Hope you manage to get to the Phil soon. See you on 24 March!

Jill

Robin said...

Just to echo Jill's appreciation of last night's recital by Ian Bostridge and Julian Drake. It was exceptionally enjoyable.

A bit of a gap in orchestral concerts now until Lark Ascending (sold out two nights I see), but 10:10 this week should be good and I'm trying the Portico Quartet's After Eight date the week after. Sounds very interesting.

Glad to hear there's continuing support out there for a new hall - though they are plugging away at their redevelopment option, the management still hasn't ruled out a new hall. And the time these things are likely to take, it's worthwhile keep lobbying. I still hope they'll let us have an up-front debate on this!

Robin

Karen said...

Hi all,

My mum has just received her subscribers' copy of Classic FM magazine and it contains a 4-page feature on the Phil. As part of their Guide to the Orchestra there is an interview with Vasily and nine RLPO members. It's well worth a look!.

Re the Echo article about a new/renovated Hall, they could perhaps do with separate parking areas for cars, mini-buses, coaches etc. At the moment coaches take up a lot of room at the Hall entrance before a concert, making it hard for taxis/other vehicles to park and their passengers to disembark safely!.

Good luck, Jane and Jill, with the e-voices concerts with Mrs. Petrenko, they sound very interesting. What kind of pieces will be sung?.

Am looking forward to the Lark Ascending concert on the 17th!.

Jane. said...

Hi Karen,

I got the Classic FM magazine this morning! The music in the e-voices concert includes Dowland (16th century music) to the West Side Story. Thanks for your message.

jill said...

Hi Karen and Jane. The magazine is on sale from Monday 8/3. Jane, the e.voices repertoire looks great, my own choir does a large range of music - or as we say, from Henry VIII to Henry Mancini (we have a fab version of Moon River).

I signed up for Super Sing Jazz at the Phil, rehearsals start 29 April. I have to go and check I can sit comfortably for the concert, but subject to that I am really looking forward to it.

10:10 on concert was excellent, especially the singer Rodney Clarke. Why haven't we heard of him before? Gorgeous man, gorgeous voice!
Jill

Ruth said...

Hello Everybody

The new versus redeveloped Hall has hit the press so things are moving - albeit slowly. My views haven't changed, although I can see where Jill is coming from with regards to finance, money is tight but I agree with Robin, that, until every avenue to a new hall has been thoroughly researched and exhausted we should not settle for redevelopment. If the end result is redevelopment, I hope the design will be sympathetic to the buildings in the area. (I'm not sure about the "bridge" across Myrtle Street - I think it will look 'odd'.

I wonder what the views of well known Merseyside musicians would be and what support there would be from them (not financial!). People like Carl Davis (via his wife Jean Boht), Edwin Roxburgh, Valerie Masterson, Stephen Hough, Heather Slade-Lipkin, Paul McCartney, and, of course, Simon Rattle!! - to name but a few. I think I read somewhere that a City Councillor has suggested that a cultural investment policy for the city as a whole is required in order to ensure the right concert facilities. I applaud the investment that has already been made into Arts and Culture but I do feel that "classical" music, Theatre, Opera and ballet have found themselves at the bottom of the pile and are in danger of being forgotten. I understand that it may appear that there is not as much support for these areas as say popular music, theatre and dance but there are many ways in which they could be promoted. The RLPO and VP have developed so much in recent years and deserve the best.

Some fantastic concerts so far this year, I hope Vasily that you will bring the NYO back on a regular basis!. Sadly I gave my tickets for the Bartok PC and Rachmaninov 3 away because I had to choose between that and a live HD performance from the Met. in New York of Simon Boccanegra with Placido Domingo in his new Baritone role - absolutely fantastic. I think it was possibly the greatest 'live' performance I have ever seen. Pity about the piano for the Chopin recital by Ewa Kupiec at St Georges Hall. Really enjoyed the Joanna MacGregor concert - it was lovely to hear some Bach. How about some Bach Oratorios Vasily???. I thoroughly enjoyed Mahler 1, but, the Resurrection, there are not enough superlatives to describe it. I felt emotionally drained and then elated. Fantastic! Thank you Vasily, Orchestra, Choir and Soloists. Can't wait for No 3.

Enjoy e-Voices Jill and Jane.

Ruth

Robin said...

Hi all

Geoff Brown's review in Saturday's Times Magazine of the disc of Rachmaninov's 2nd and 3rd piano concertos is complimentary about the performances and the rapport between Vasily and Simon Trpčeski, but disobliging about the acoustic of the recording. I listened to it last night and the acoustic's perhaps a little dull, but I didn't think as bad as Geoff Brown said. Does anyone agree?

Hope all goes well with E-voices! I must go out and get a copy of the Classic FM Magazine from what you are saying about it. Absolutely agree with Jill about the wonderful voice of Rodney Clarke at last weeks 10:10. We must hear more of him. Does anyone know how 10:10's debut at the Wigmore Hall last Friday went?

Great, Ruth, that your for going all out for a new hall, with redevelopment as a fall-back and I'm certainly hoping this gains support. It would certainly be interesting to know the views of more of the prominent musicians associated with the region.

I'd like to echo Ruth's wish for the return of the NYO, and obviously also agree that we've had some fantastic concerts this year so far, and quite a few still to come. If the rumours are right, next season's going to be great too.

Robin

Titus said...

Let us assume that Geoff Brown was listening on equipment that didn't do justice to the recording, for I found nothing amiss with the acoustic. It's also sometimes difficult to respond freshly to music which is as over-familiar as these two concertos. Nevertheless these are intelligent, well-recorded, thoroughly musicianly and engaging performances and I shall be putting them on my iPod.

Robin said...

Well, Titus, from what you've written before, you know Rachmaninov much better than me, so I'll go with you instead of Geoff Brown - I didn't agree at all with his review of The Resurrection at the Phil!

The Symphonic Dances etc. CD has had excellent reviews.

Robin said...

Hello All

Got a copy of the Classic FM magazine and is was very good to see Vasily and the band so prominently displayed, but I did think it was a bit 'thin' for a major feature. And it was disappointing in the same issue to see that twelve top orchestras to hear didn't include the Phil, but did include the Halle!

On Friday I went to my first 'After Eight' concert with the Portico Quartet. Quite a different style of listening to music - and quite different music, but it was very enjoyable indeed and the musicians were really impressive.

Looking forward to Lark Ascending this week. I know the programme's very popular, and the soloists (and conductor!) are great, but it's really good to see a two-nighter sold out!

violin player said...

What is wrong with the Halle Robin?

Robin said...

I wasn't meaning to say that there is anything at all wrong with the Halle Violin Player - it's a very fine orchestra, as were the others in the list. I was just disappointed that, of north-west orchestras, the Halle was in the list and the Phil wasn't.

violin player said...

Agree with you there. RLPO should be near/at the top. Ranking orchestras is always rather suspect anyway. Times tried a few years ago and only put one British orchestra in the world top 20. In my opinion British orchestras are amongst the best in the world. British orchestras are particually respected abroad for there sightreading!

Robin said...

I absolutely agree with you Violin Player. Given how many (or few) professional orchestras there are in the UK, the Classic FM magazine list is pointless. It should have just given info about all of them. although I suppose they have to have different things to fill their pages.

People may be interested in the Liverpool Culture Strategy that is going to be unveiled on Thursday this week. I don't know how much it will say, but a while back Ruth mentioned the idea of 'a cultural investment policy for the city as a whole' and I assume it may give some ideas on this.

Ruth said...

Hello Everybody

I agree Robin that the Classic FM article was a little 'thin' on content. Good as it was to read and great that the free CD accompanying the issue was of recordings from live concerts by Vasily and the Orchestra, I feel that it could have been mentioned at the end, where and when the Orchestra could be seen 'live' - eg May 22nd, Mahler 3, Philharmonic Hall (??)

I think Andrew Mellor in the following article did not intend to "indicate the best", writing about how British Orchestras have been revitalised under new leaders says "Here's a look at just some of them...." Maybe the problem was with the 'page setter' assuming that it was Britain's best!.

I was pleased to read a review from Denmark of the recently released Symphonic Dances - "......these years the Royal Liverool Philharmonic Orchestra just seems to go from strength to strength........a first class musical communicator, Petrenko infuses this provincial orchestra with the searing fire of his intensely Russian spirit.....conjuring up a sound that rings so genuinely true". - and - blind-testing 10 versions of Isle of the Dead for a classical review website, from Bishop Stortford we read "...this one easily comes out on top...it is extraordinary how great the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic now sounds.....Petrenko achieves a miracle of interpretation,,,,I am really looking forward to future issues by the same team"

I am looking forward to hearing what the Liverpool Culture Strategy might say. Lets hope it's good and has foresight. As Alex Ross said in his RPS Lecture at the Wigmore Hall recently, "classical music finds itself as a largely acoustic art in an electronic culture, as a mainly long-form art in a short-attention-span age". Incidently have any of you read the lecture? - well worth a read, thought provoking and interesting.

Looking forward to Lark Ascending!

Ruth

jill said...

Hi everyone. Ruth, the Alex Ross lecture was mentioned on the Phil Facebook page and I was disappointed that most comments agreed with the no clapping rule and were generally disparaging of newcomers to the concert hall who don't know the rules. I believe this sort of thing keeps classical music "elite" in all the wrong ways and prevents 'ordinary' people thinking about attending concerts. I was involved in a discussion on the Daily Post website about the Phil and I was staggered by the negative comments posted - as if the Phil bussed in a few wealthy snobs every week to improve the tone of the place. The Phil could hardly do more to encourage a younger and more diverse audience and, let's face it, if they don't come the place will die.

I said on FB that I wished half this energy could be directed at people who cough during concerts. If people find a bit of applause between movements so disruptive, how do they deal with the general throat clearing that we get at every concert at the Phil, at every break in (and often during) the music. Frankly, a bit of applause to cover that would be most welcome. Robin, this would be one of my reasons for a new hall - there are several reviews which specifically mention the effect of the Phil acoustic on coughing.

I attended a rehearsal on Monday morning and it was most interesting, much more so than rehearsals on the afternoon of the concert when the work has already been done. Very entertaining - it seems that all orchestras and choirs have the same problems -the difference is that the brilliant professionals of the Phil only have to be asked once!

I booked to see Joanna MacGregor at the new Hope venue at the end of March, also Roger McGough. It nicely filled a bit of a gap at the Phil. Vasily, hope you get to San Francisco without too much disruption in your flight plans with the proposed strike at BA.

Looking forward to this evening, but will refrain from comment until after Thursday. The program looks so interesting.

Jill

Robin said...

Hello all

Good to see that Danish review, Ruth, which is another excellent one for the disc. It will be interesting to see what the Culture Strategy comes up with - if it's a 'strategy' it ought to have foresight, but that can't be a foregone conclusion.

I do agree, Jill, that if we are going to get new audiences to sustain classical music into the future, we must accept changes to our cosy conventions. Long ago, I believe that applause between movements was normal. I don't like it because I'm not used to it, and especially dislike it after the 3rd movement of Tchaikovsky's 6th, but I've managed to stop glaring now because we mustn't put newcomers off. I do, however, still glare a lot at the coughing crowd because mostly it's completely unnecessary and could well be controlled. It's just inconsiderate to other concert-goers and the musicians.

If the Phil acoustic is especially generous to coughing, I'm glad we can add that to the arguments for a new hall! Considering that the hall's architect had no experience at all of designing performance venues, the acoustic is not at all bad, but the orchestra rally deserves better.

I had an invitation for the rehearsal on Monday, but didn't go. I've never been to a rehearsal because I think it would spoil the concert for me, but perhaps I should give one a try.

I'm a big fan of Joanna McGregor, but not sure I can get to her event for the Capstone opening week. I'm told by someone at Hope that the next 10/10 will probably be in the new venue, which would be good.

Robin

Robin said...

Hi again Vasily and all

In her review in the Echo of last Wednesday’s concert, Catherine Jones mentioned the coughing, which Jill and I recently talked about here. Catherine said she hoped the coughers wouldn’t be so much in evidence on Thursday, but unfortunately it seems to be what a critic once called the Liverpool Spring Coughing Season. There were some absolutely disgraceful coughers, especially evident in James Clark’s beautiful playing of Lark Ascending. I really cannot understand these people, who definitely cough deliberately, not involuntarily.

Nevertheless, I thought it was a very enjoyable concert indeed from the melodic Tippett and lyrical Lark, played so well as I’ve mentioned by James Clark. We’re so lucky to have him as well as other people, like Vasily of course, who conducted a sensitive orchestral accompaniment. Jean-Yves Thibaudet was brilliant in the Grieg Piano Concerto, and the orchestra was again highly commendable. Catherine Jones mentioned the freshness of the performance of the Enigma Variations, and I have to agree with her. So often conductors approach these familiar works in a pedestrian way, but this was the best performance I’ve heard in a very long time. Thanks to everybody who made the music come so alive.

There was a very minor mention in the Echo one day last week of the City’s culture strategy, which I thought was being announced last Thursday, but I’ve seen no more. Has anyone else seen anything?

Best, Robin

Karen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen said...

Hi all,

Wednesdays' concert was wonderful, especially the Lark Ascending (the first time I've heard it live), Enigma Variations and Griegs' Piano Concerto. I hope, Vasily, you were pleased with it - you looked as though you were!.

The Consumptive Chorus was the most full-blooded I've heard so far, particularly during James Clarks' exquisite solos. If it isn't involuntary why do they do it?!.

I've not seen anything about the Culture Strategy so can't really imagine what it involves.

Jane. said...

Hello,

The lark ascending concert was very good. If you are still coming on Wednesday Jill, could we meet in the cafe of VG&M after the concert please? If not- don't worry. I have read your message on Facebook and I don't have an answer about coughing.

All the best.

jill said...

Hello everyone. I thought the concert was wonderful and I enjoyed the entire programme very much. Vasily does have this nack of making pieces sound as though you have not heard them before. I don't know whether its because he is coming from a Russian perspective, or just his general high standard of research and the thought he gives to each piece. Lark Ascending was lovely, but how tall is Jim Clark - he makes Vasily look quite average.

re coughers - I have read at least two national reviews which single out the Phil acoustic as "cough-enhancing". In these circs I think the Phil should take some action. I don't think a notice in the programme is too much to ask, although personally I don't understand why people - having heard the racket when others cough - can't have the sense to muffle their own coughing.

Jane, I will be at the concert on Wednesday and will meet you afterwards in the cafe. I have just seen Roger McGough at the new Hope venue, Capstone, and I noticed that Evgenia Petrenko is also directing a choir there (Voices of Hope) who are performing on Thursday as part of the opening week of events. I am going to see Joanna MacGregor next Friday, baptising the new concert grand piano.

Wishing Vasily and the Phil all the best in Switzerland. Hope they are not flying with BA!

jill

jill said...

me again - forgot to say that the culture strategy up to 2011 is on Liverpool.gov.uk. Presumably the one people are mentioning is going further forward than that. If so, I have not seen anything anywhere

J

jill said...

Me again! Following a link on the Phil's FB page, I read the debate in the House of Lords introduced by Bishop James and well supported, recognising the role of culture in regeneration and making life worth living in difficult times. It was very briefly mentioned in the local press, but not nearly enough now that I have read the whole thing. The Phil and Vasily were singled out for praise for their education work. It's on Parliament website (or House of Lords website - one or t'other).

My appeal to Sefton brought the answer that £22,000 is a "quite appropriate" amount. I have recently written to my three local councillors and prospective MPs on the matter.

Jill

jill said...

Robin (and others interested) the cultural strategy 2010-2014 and delivery plan are on the "Liverpool First" website. I have only speed read and didn't notice anything specific about funding for the phil. Vasily, hope Switzerland is going well, although by the time you all get home it will feel like you have been travelling for seven days!
I saw Jane sing in her choir yesterday, conducted by Evgenia Petrenko. Very nice concert, lovely mix of music and lovely sound from the group.
jill

jill said...

Hello Vasily, I hope the Switzerland tour was a great success, there is a short video on Facebook - very funny. I read somewhere that you are conducting in Atlanta a few days after San Francisco. As it is all around the Easter holidays, I hope you have been able to take your family with you for this longer trip to USA. Look forward to seeing you back at the Phil soon.

jill

jill said...

Hi everyone, great review today in the SF Chronicle, describing Vasily as "tall, teenager thin and fawn faced" - looks like the new nickname will be Bambi! Needless to say they loved the concert, so congratulations Vasily, another city conquered!

jill

Robin said...

Hello All

Been away for a while during the break in concerts and am now beginning to feel orchestral-concert deprivation! So I’m very much looking forward to Robin Ticciati’s concert on Thursday with a luscious programme, but I’m rather disappointed that the concert hasn’t excited more interest from the audience. Still quite a few great concerts to come this season (everyone please got to hear Vasily’s Bruckner on 1 May as well as everything else), but already we’re only two weeks away from the announcement on 25 April of next season’s concerts. How the years fly past, but it’ll be great to find out what treats lie in store for us in the coming year!

Like Jill, I hope very much that the Switzerland concerts went well and that everyone wasn’t completely exhausted by the punishing schedule the orchestra and Vasily had in March. Of course, Vasily’s schedule seems almost impossible and since then, as Jill has said, the SF Chronicle has recorded his successful debut in San Francisco; and now he’s scored another major success with his ‘revelatory’ performance of the Manfred Symphony with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Congratulations Vasily, and looking forward to your return to the Phil in ten days’ time.

Thanks, Jill, for finding the Cultural Strategy 2010-2014, which hasn’t been exactly well publicised … perhaps they’ll say more when they begin to put meat on the bones. I’ve read it word-for-word now and, though it doesn’t really say a great deal in specific terms, it’s up-beat about maintaining the culture profile of Liverpool and about the key role provided by the Phil. It touches on venues, too, though it doesn’t go very far at all. I suppose that, when it comes down to it, what we want to see is how much money there’s going to be and that depends on the City Council budget 2011 onwards, so we need to see what happens after the local (and national) elections. I hope, incidentally, that the takeover of Rensburg Sheppards doesn’t affect their great relationship with the Phil. On money, that was a weaselly (though unsurprising) response Jill got from Sefton Council. What on earth does ‘quite appropriate’ mean as a justification of an insignificant grant to the Phil? It will be interesting to hear what Jill’s councillors and prospective MPs have to say to her.

Congratulations to the Phil and Classic FM on winning the sustained partnership award from Arts and Business North – it seems that awards just keep coming! I’m sure that the mutual benefits of the partnership between the Phil and Classic FM are substantial, but I’m not so sure that Classic FM does not now have too many of these partnerships to do justice to all of them. My impression is that the Phil has been getting less coverage recently and that others (e.g. The Philharmonia and The Northern Sinfonia/Sage) have been getting very much more.

There must be another Naxos Shostakovich disc due for release reasonably soon. Does anybody know about that?

Best, Robin

Robin said...

Congratulations, Vasily, on your nomination as Male Artist of the Year in the Classic Brit Awards. Let's hope that you go on to win the title!

Best wishes

Titus said...

Yes, but it's a pity that the Classical Brits Awards are such a trashy affair, tainted by "crossover" rubbish. Faryl Smith? Ludovico Einaudi? Please!

Robin said...

That's true Titus, though I think that crossover stuff does in its way help to promote the music we love. And Vasily's 'competition' in the awards is Bryn Terfel and Tony Pappano, which is pretty classy!