Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Autumn

Well, a couple of months ago I’ve been enjoying Glyndebourne and East Sussex in a beautiful summer days. Now is October, but still some good weather, at least in Paris last weekend; +24, sunny, city in full glory with falling leafs, haut-couture autumn dresses... and millions of tourists together with thousands of homeless on the street.
Summer was busy as usual, but very exciting too – Macbeth, White Nights, Prom, Spain, France and, of course, tropical Saint-Petersburg. Those 10 days at home in August with temperature over 30 degrees were just something! At one moment I’ve seen amazing rain: under +36 dark cloud suddenly appeared but produced just a light drizzle which immediately vaporised from the surface; it’s been so strange to see water going both directions, down and up at the same time!
Amongst all engagements in July-August I’d call two as a very special. Prom in London was a big showcase for the orchestra and I’m very glad that it has a great reviews and response, but more important is a level of consistency which has been extremely high in RLPO performance; this is as you know not only that “you can beat any opponent”, but that you’re sure that you’ll do it week by week, day by day without any doubts. And it continued in our Spanish trip, especially in Parsifal, with a fantastic set of singers in a very spiritual city Santiago de Compostela. Wagner is always difficult for orchestra not only because it’s length, but also because intensity; Liverpool doesn’t have at the moment huge Wagnerian tradition and to perform this piece with a very limited rehearsals time was a tread. I’m very proud that on reception after Parsifal (about 2am  ) soloists who sang this piece many times in top-class theatres like Met , ROH or Bayreuth, said it’s been one of the best performances by the level of the orchestra.
Next morning I’ve been flying to Paris straight to rehearsal of Onegin. (Here software suggests me to change it to One gin!) Bastille is a very big place, but, surprisingly, with a good acoustic. And there is enough space in the pit for orchestra of any size! Yesterday was a last performance and I had a lot of pleasure from this project; even if production was discussable, level of performance every night has been on the highest standard. If you plan to visit Paris or other French city, I can give you an advice – check in advance when there are next strike days, French people like to make them and it’s quite difficult to travel!
Tomorrow we all off to China, looking forward very much (for me it’s a first visit), particularly to perform Shostakovich 15 which I think will have a very special reception there. Even if there are a very few things to improve after our great performance in Liverpool, another culture and mentality should give a special angle on perception of this great piece. And, of course, we’re so proud to be Liverpool ambassadors there!

39 comments:

Robin said...

Hi Vasily

You seem to have used your time on the trains from Paris to Liverpool on your laptop! It's great to hear that your very busy time has also been so satisfying. Your receptions at Glyndebourne at the Bastille have been great, and of course we've had wonderful orchestral performances in Liverpool too. Thank you as ever for all you are doing for the orchestra - and thanks to all the musicians for their work and musicianship. I am very glad you are so pleased with the progress and it's fantastic that the Phil is taking Liverpool to the world again so often. Let's hope the 'cuts' are not so bad that all this can't continue.

If you didn't have 'One gin' when the computer software came up with the idea, have a couple (or something else) on the plane to China! A toast to you all for this historic occasion for the RLPO, wishing you all the success you deserve. I'm sure that the audiences for the sold-out concerts will appreciate you and the orchestra as much as we all do in Liverpool and elsewhere! Bon voyage et bonne chance!

jill said...

I would just like to echo everything Robin has said - I couldn't put it any better! So another big "thank you" from me and have a wonderful time in China.

Artsdeco said...
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jill said...

I have thoroughly enjoyed the blogs and videos from China, it seemed like a hectic time and must have been strange swapping styles between classical, schools and Beatles almost daily. There were photos in the DP showing lots of OMD and the audience, but only one of Vasily and the orchestra. Your luggage appears to have turned up, Vasily, or did you have another twinkly shirt made in China? I was sorry to hear of some damage to instruments, one in particular that couldn't be used. I wonder if we will get the chance to see any Panda hats - and did you buy one for Sasha, if not for yourself, Vasily? I am looking forward to your views on China, Vasily. We tend to view the people there as under the heel of the leadership, yet they obviously have people with money who can fill 1500 seats in a concert and I know Shanghai is "different" in many ways from the rest of China. Hope everyone is enjoying a relaxing weekend to recover.

I enjoyed Thursdays concert, but it wasn't particularly thrilling. The Brahms was pleaant enough, but I didn't like the choral fantasia especially. Carmina Burana was fabulous, it's such a strange work, but great to sing and hear.

looking forward to seeing you all back at Phil Hall soon. Hope the news from Arts Council England is not terrible!
jill

Robin said...

Hello Vasily

Looking forward to your return to the Liverpool stage this week and to what should be a great couple of concerts on the 4th and the 7th. I suppose that nobody yet knows the full extent of the funding cuts on the Phil's future, but perhaps we'll get a hint at tomorrow's AGM. Hoping that, in the midst of this terrific upbeat period in the Phil's history, things are not too dire.

I've been listening with great pleasure to a disc of Wagner's Wesendonk lieder and wonder if there's a chance of a performance at the Phil.

Best wishes

Robin said...

Wonderful to hear at the AGM on Monday the confidence for the future despite all the challenges of continuing the great work of the Phil in the face of all the cuts.

Another great concert last night right from the start with the spirted performance of the overture to Il Seraglio. James Ehnes and the orchestra were superb in the Mendelssohn concerto and, though I was a bit uncertain about some of the phrasing in the 1st movement of Mahler's 4th, overall it was very pleasing in deed. I thought that the 3rd movement, in particular, was absolutely exquisite and was very impressed by Sarah-Jane Brandon in the last movement. Thanks Vasily and everybody else.

I'm now very much looking forward to Sunday's concert!

jill said...

Yes, I agree, the concert last night was fabulous from start to finish. I am really looking forward to Sunday as well. The orchestra sounds wonderful. I was slightly put off by the guy with the moving camera, he kept whizzing round when he heard music behind him, but seemed always to be just too late!

Recent news from Arts England say everyone will have to apply, hopefully Vasily's great work at the Phil and the Phil's great work everywhere will pretty well ensure us a grant. I wonder what will happen at Liverpool Council? With the best will in the world, they will be strapped for cash.

jill

Robin said...

Vasily: many congratulations to you and the orchestra for the Telegraph review of the recording of Shostakovich's 10th symphony!

The reduction in ACE's grant next year, Jill, will almost certainly be reflected in Liverpool City Council's grant because they'll undoubtedly be strapped for cash. But they are confident at the Phil that the Council is going to do its best for them, so we can only wait and see because we just won't know for certain for some months yet. It's so heartening to hear that they are still planning two tours for the orchestra in 2011 as well as some great concerts, so in all the financial circumstances of the moment things continue to look good.

jill said...

Vasily - that concert this afternoon was outstanding, I think it was the best yet of Mahler, it was simply marvellous. Thank you and congratulations to you and all the orchestra.
jill

Robin said...

Vasily: just to echo Jill - and everyone else I've spoken to who was at yesterday afternoon's concert. I don't forget the gentle and elegant Mozart with Pascal and Ami Rogé, but the performance of Mahler's 5th was mind-blowing. Absolutely mind blowing and never-to-be-forgotten. A million thanks to you and all the players...

... and the recording of Shostakovich 10 is every bit as good as Geoffrey Norris said in the Telegraph, so congratulations again on that.

jill said...

I thought the concert this evening was a complete delight. The selection didn't really grab me beforehand, although I wanted to see Ryan Wigglesworth, but each piece was performed so well and it turned out to be a lovely evening. I was greatly disturbed when I first got to my seat to see the very miserable and patheteic audience numbers. Things did improve just before 7.30pm, but still plenty of empty seats. People are not really music lovers, they just want to see Vasily. Nothing wrong with seeing you, Vasily, and I always love watching you conduct, but I'm sure you would prefer the audience to attend the Phil to listen to and enjoy the music, widening their experience. Contemporary music always has a poor audience, but I think that something you don't like or understand is always much better heard live than listening to recordings.

Vasily, hope your engagement in London is a success, reviews of the latest CD have been excellent too.
jill

Robin said...

Hi Vasily – and Jill

Yes, the concert last Thursday was very enjoyable indeed (so was last Wednesday’s 10:10, when it was particularly great to see and hear Graham Fitkin again after many years and to be introduced to the music of Martijn Padding. The music for Ryan Wigglesworth’s concert on Thursday (and Sunday) was, however, a bit lighter than we’ve been used to lately and I think that the programme was partly responsible for the poor audience numbers.

Aside from the lightness of the music, people nearly always (pathetically) stay away if there’s something new or if the conductor is not known to them, though the ‘Inventions’ were very pleasant and Ryan is personable. But I still think that Jill’s exaggerating the ‘Vasily factor’ somewhat, great though it is. For instance, this coming Saturday’s concert has been sold out for ages even though neither the soloist nor the conductor is especially well known to Liverpool audiences. On the other hand, Vasily’s two Fairy Tales concerts in December are not selling terribly well, so I’m sure the programme is a factor as well the conductor (or soloist). It would be interesting to know what the experience is in this regard at the Hallé, the CBSO or the BSO. That said, I’m always disappointed at the poor response to contemporary music; people are denying themselves considerable pleasure!

Like Jill, Vasily, I hope that your LPO concert tomorrow is a great success – it’s an excellent programme.

Best wishes

Titus said...

Earth-shattering performance of Shostakovich 11 at the RFH last night. I haven't recovered yet! A great triumph for Vasily in what I believe was his first public performance with the LPO at the Festival Hall.

Robin said...

That's fantastic to hear Titus! Yes, I believe you are right that it was Vasily's first LPO performance at the RFH. Wish I could have been there to witness his latest triumph.

Robin said...

There's a great review by David Nice of the LPO concert on The Arts Desk: http://www.theartsdesk.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=2652:london-philharmonic-orchestra-vasily-petrenko-royal-festival-hall&Itemid=27
And another one on Ed Seckerson's website: http://www.edwardseckerson.biz/?p=530

Robin said...

Welcome back for this week's concerts in Liverpool Vasily. Looking forward to Thursday!

Robin said...

Hi Vasily

Thanks to you and the orchestra for Fairy Tales, which was very enjoyable. I love Prokofiev's music, but wasn't very familiar with Cinderella, which I especially enjoyed. I hope we can have a lot more Prokofiev and I hope one day that we'll have you conducting The Love for Three Oranges.

Coincidentally, I see you're doing Prokofiev's 5th symphony in Paris next Thursday and hope that concert goes well. Maybe you'll be having a Christmas break in St Petersburg after that, but enjoy Christmas wherever you are and best wishes for 2011.

Best wishes too for your January concerts in Tokyo and Rome (Alexander Nevsky, that should be good; a long time since we heard it in Liverpool!). Looking forward to your return to the Liverpool stage on 22 January with Ilya Gringolts and the next week with the wonderful Simon Trpčeski.

jill said...

Hello all. I have been back in hospital (same problem) but am now home. I missed Salome and Fairy Tales - how could I miss Fairy Tales, I have been looking forward to it for months!!!

jill

Robin said...

Sorry to hear you've been stuck in hospital again Jill and have had to miss two concerts. Hope all is going OK now. Best wishes.

Karen said...

Hi all,

I enjoyed the the Fairy Tales concert very much, particularly the Mother Goose Suite. Like Robin says, it would be interseting to have more of Prokofievs' music performed.

Sorry to hear that your illness is recurring, Jill. I hope it stays away over Christmas.

I won't be visiting the Phil again until February, so best wishes to everyone for a happy Christmas and New Year.

Karen

jill said...

Hi Vasily. I hope you enjoyed your work in Japan and I think you have been to Spain too, or possibly there now. Anyway, you will soon be in Liverpool for a series of concerts and I am looking forward to them very much.
I hope you had a break at Christmas - possibly two Christmasses on 25 Dec and 7 Jan! Hope you got home to StP to see your friends and family. We are all very excited that you will be back at the Phil soon.
Jill

Robin said...

Hi Jill

Hope you are well again! Vasily is in Rome today - last of three concert nights I think - conducting Alexander Nevsky. I share your excitement at Vasily's return and am looking forward to Saturday night at the Phil - and...

Hi Vasily

I also hope everything has been going well and, please, can we have Alexander Nevsky in Liverpool? And also The Love for Three Oranges! Look forward to the upcoming concerts with Ilya Gringolts and Simon Trpĉeski.

Best wishes

Robin said...

Hi Jill

Hope you are well again! Vasily is in Rome today - last of three concert nights I think - conducting Alexander Nevsky. I share your excitement at Vasily's return and am looking forward to Saturday night at the Phil - and...

Hi Vasily

I also hope everything has been going well and, please, can we have Alexander Nevsky in Liverpool? And also The Love for Three Oranges! Look forward to the upcoming concerts with Ilya Gringolts and Simon Trpĉeski.

Best wishes

Robin said...

Don't know how that got there twice. Sorry!

jill said...

Thanks Robin, Spain/Rome - I knew it was somewhere in that direction!
I had the last of my stitches removed this morning and all is looking well. I just have to get through 9/12 months with no pain relief for my phantom pain. Hey ho.
Can't wait for Saturday, it seems ages since I attended a classical concert having missed so many last year. Looking forward to your next blog, Vasily, to hear all about China, Japan, Rome and Christmas!
Jill

Robin said...

Wonderful concert last night Vasily! Thank you so much - and Ilya Gringolts and all the players in the orchestra.

jill said...

I agree, it was fabulous.

Robin said...

Yet another great concert last night Vasily! Many thanks to you, the members of the orchestra and the truly superb Simon Trpčeski. I must also mention the beautiful clarinet solo by Nicholas Cox.

It was good to discover in the Prokofiev music I'd never heard before. I enjoyed this a lot and so I'm repeating my plea for performances at the Phil of Alexander Nevsky and The Love for Three Oranges!

jill said...

Vasily, it is GREAT to have you back in Liverpool and last night's concert was superb. It was a real emotional roller coaster to be so moved by a piece of music that you have no choice but to jump up at the end and join in the thunderous applause. You have been inspirational at Liverpool Phil and brought about miraculous improvements. Thank you, thank you.
jill

Robin said...

Amazing picture of 'you' Vasily on the Toronto Symphony website: http://www.tso.on.ca/Concerts-And-Tickets/Events/2010-2011-Season/Rite-of-Spring.aspx

Don't recognise who it actually is!

Robin said...

the photo was Andre Laplante - it's been changed now to a recognisable McNulty pic of Vasily!

Robin said...

Congratulations, Vasily, on your appointment to the Oslo Philharmonic - a great orchestra with great traditions, but which I'm sure you'll make greater. Have wonderful times making music in Oslo, and perhaps you can bring the orchestra to Liverpool!

In the meantime and after you start work in Oslo, of course we are all very much looking forward to your continuing work in Liverpool. We are grateful for all you've done and are sure that you will continue to raise the RLPO to ever higher peaks of performance. I hope that we can overcome the current funding problems so that it will be possible for the orchestra in Liverpool to continue to develop and flourish.

All best wishes

jill said...

I am listening to the latest CD which arrived this morning, two days early.Great reviews so far, so I know it will be fantastic even before I hear it all. Robin and I, and I'm sure others too, have been working hard to get more money for the Phil.
You've had great reviews in Toronto too and will be back in Liverpool shortly - the best news! I'll be there to welcome you.
jill
I have typed this message twice so hope it doesn't appear twice!

jill said...

Hi Vasily. I see you are conducting in San Francisco later this year with Joshua Bell playing the violin. I have several CDs of his where he has played modern works, Gershwin and West Side Story etc. If you work well together in San Francisco any chance of inviting him to come to the Phil. I have never seen him live and would love to do so. Hope things are going well for you in Philadelphia and great news about the Phil's tour around Europe. There have been excellent reviews of the latest CD, so congratulations all round. Look forward to seeing you in Liverpool soon.
jill

Karen said...

I've got half a dozen Joshua Bell CDs, he's my favourite violinist. Would love to see him at the Phil.

Robin said...

It would be great to see Josh Bell back at the Phil again. I've heard him live there twice - once when he was very young and then in 2003 when he signed a CD for me. On that occasion, though, he played a new work* and the audience stayed away in droves, so it may take you Vasily to entice him back!

Hope all's going well in Philadelphia Vasily - good to see you working with Stephen Hough again. And then eight performances of Manfred on the continent and in Liverpool - quite a tour de force!

* the world premiere of Behzad Ranjbaran’s Violin Concerto, with Schwartz as conductor, which was very enjoyable. I spoke to Ranjbaran in the interval - a most amiable man.

Robin said...

But I see also, Vasily that Josh Bell is joining you with the Oslo Philharmonic in Paris in November, so perhaps there's hope you can persuade him back to Liverpool!

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