Thursday, April 2, 2009

Live from the Barbican!

Hello followers!

I'm here at the Barbican, just writing a quick blog before the orchestra go on stage. Tonight we're performing Elgar - The Apostles with the Highgate Choral Society who are celebrating their 130th Anniversary Season. It's a huge work and the orchestra is pretty large too, the biggest I've had to fix so far. However we did manage to get everyone on stage (and rather a lot of percussion and percussionists in a very small space!) and the rehearsal went well. There are always issues with trying to raise players of wind and brass up a level above string players, so they don't get a loud instrument in their ear, but today it's been tough as we're also on stage with 180 singers. Healthy Orchestras are a huge talking point at the moment, check out the ABO's website about it:

Another unusual thing to deal with today has been the 'shofar' which is listed in the instrumentation for The Apostles. I have discovered on my quest to find a player and an instrument for this part that Elgar apparently wrote 'shofar' but when he first heard it performed on the instrument, thought it sounded horrendous - quite like a squeaky door or something equally unmusical! He eventually established what he really meant was a 'Jerusalem Fanfare Trumpet' which is essentially a 6ft long metal tube, played using a trumpet mouthpiece. I tracked down someone who had one of these, and coerced Simon Gabriel into playing it!! So thanks Simon, and also well played! Simon has only two passages in the piece to play, but both times he enters at the top of the stage and has a spotlight on him, pretty intimidating.

Anyway, I had better get on backstage and make sure everyone is okay. Most of the musicians have disappeared off for dinner and are just starting to arrive back ready for the concert. I'll post some photos from my mobile tomorrow!

PS. Absolutely LOVE soloist Peter Savidge's voice!

No comments:

Post a Comment