Sunday, August 4, 2013

A month with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra - from the Germans to the Russians


In mid July Alexander Shelley and Colin Currie popped over from the UK to do a program of Rouse and Wagner. Wagner is all the rage this year, as its 200 years since his birth. Verdi too was born in 1813, but is getting nothing like the same airplay. Der Gerettete Alberich by Rouse is a groovy piece, involving every toy in a percussionists toybox and quite a few motivs from the Ring, especially ones involving Alberich, of course. I have been listening to the Ring on Spotify (which is changing my life, its awesome) so am getting to know my Alberichs from my Mimes!! Anyway, its a good piece, if tricky. And the second half had an orchestral "reduction" of Trsitan and Isolde - it was still over an hour! My first gig with Opera Australia was Tristan, back in 2001 - and it was 5:45!! Powerful music.

Next we had the remarkable Simone Young conducting the Last Days of Socrates by Brett Dean, and Mahler 5. Wow. All Bretts music is difficult - this was no exception. We have to use timp sticks in a number of places, and the percussionsts use a bass bow on the cymbals - role reversal time! Brett came and joined the viola section for Mahler 5 - what an wonderful piece that is. Its been a year of doing pieces for the first time for me, and remarkably I had never done Mahler 5 before.

Last week was my first quiet week in the contract - with the exception of Til Eulenspiegel, I was rostered off the rest of the program of Strauss arias and Mozart. Til was fun. I like Fritsch - he was very good to me some years ago when I was principal bass with OV for the first time, in a program with a huge bass solo. Til was fun, and so too was going home at 8.14 after a very short nights work!

Another anniversary about to be commemorated is the Rite of Spring being 100 years old.

Photo - MSO Melbourne Festival marketing

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