Monday, September 17, 2012

Swan Lake


We are well into rehearsal for Swan Lake. I am on the front desk, sat by the outer pit wall, so get a good view of the the rests of course, otherwise my eyes would be glued to Nicolette Fraillon!! Its a classical production, a tutu-fest, and its just wonderful. I would strongly recommend that everyone go and see it, but the whole seaosn is sold out before opening night. Plenty of good tunes to whistle on the tram home!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Conductor workshops with Christopher Seaman

My first gigs in Melbourne were three conductor workshops with teenagers, one of whom was Loren Pugh, one of my bass students. She did very well.

Christopher is wonderful - am sure the conductors learnt a great deal, I certainly did. Its fascinating going back into the pro world and seeing some high profile conductors making basic error that CS was urging his students to avoid.

And he is full of great stories. He told me of a concert he did with the Queensland Orchestra, with a big bit for the basses. He looked up to cue the, and only one of the section was looking at him. When he brought this to thier attention, principal bass John Fardon commented, "which one of you bastards was that"!! CS loved it!!

Monday, September 3, 2012

From Edinburgh to Melbourne


St Columb Festival was as wonderful as ever. I am of the opinion that the bass in not a solo instrument, really, so the ultimate repertoire for us is chamber music. I get the chance to play the greats as well as some of the not-so-well known pieces, thanks to Harmoniemusik. We have been doing a week festival with three programs since 1992 - but I did have a small sabbatical in Australia for 15 years. Its great to be back. The Trout quintet is always joy - I have performed it 8 times since 1988 and my 9th is coming up in Melbourne in November with the Firebird Trio. That should be very special indeed. Am sure I will never tire of it.

My week with Scottish Chamber Orchestra was amazing. The combination of one of the worlds best small groups, Robin Ticciati and Alina Pogostkina was to die for. Words alone cannot do justice to this performance. Alina is beautiful, in every way. A real superstar, surely to be acknowledged on the world stage, if she hasnt achieved that already. The bass section was Lynda Houghton, Adrian Bornet, Lynette Eaton and me. I have worked with Adrian a good few times, lovely bloke. It was great to work with Lynda, who I have tried to capture in the arty shot to the Right. And Lynette and I go back to our London days, in the 1990s. Wonderful section, both musically and socially.

And ACO were in town, doing a gig on the same day as SCO. I got to spend some quality time with Maxime Bibeau and many of the other guys, while they struggled with jet lag, having just landed from Australia.

Am typing this from a hotel in Doha, on route to Melbourne. I missed my connection to Australia, so am in a hotel looking out at an airport in the desert in 38 degrees.

Olympics, cream teas and Australian visitors


August is festival season in the UK. The last two years I have done Festivals in Buxton, Minehead, Edinburgh and St Columb, and this year can add St Endelion. The two cornish St's this year will lead to a lot of cream teas and pressure on my belt....again.

There was an amazing coincidence at the Soldiers Tale concert at St Endelion on 6th August. I was drafted in at short notice, possibly on the basis that I had played it before. Which is true, but it was 30 years ago in 1982, as a student at Birmingham. Remarkably, Robin Tebbutt was in the audience in St Endelion, who was the Narrator in the 1982 performance - I have not seen Robin since 1983. What a small world.

Steve Martin (ex Principal bass with the Tasmanian SO) and Dennis Vaughan (Associate Principal bass with Orchestra Victoria) are both visiting in August, along with significant others Diane and Joan respectively. It should be fun - we have promised to keep the talk of machine heads and tailwires to a minimum.