Evrything has been leading up to this final concert of the series. It is to be the world premiere of my orchestral transcription of Elgar's Piano Quintet.
His wife, Lady Alice suggested in her diary that this music he was writing should be a 'War Symphony', so a symphony I have attempted to make of it.
Large orchestral forces gathered n the morning for final rehearsals and preparation.
One last pre concert talk and we were off. It was applauded greatly and the conductor and I were called back to the stage for several minutes. Most exiting! The orchestra played up a storm and everyone gave of their best. No one could have asked for more.
So a job well done? We will have to wait for the press reviews…..nervously!
They will be posted on the website just as soon as they get published.
Check back soon to find out how we did.
Now on to Birmingham. A late night drive from Malvern after the Violin Concerto concert found us all in Birmingham in the wee hours of the morning. An early start at 7am to set up the recording equipment in the Elgar Concert Hall was a bit of a shock to the system but all was ready by 10am for the start of the two recording sessions of my orchestration of Elgar's Piano Quintet.
We finished recording at 5pm. A long and intense day but everyone stayed on task.
Then at 5.30 Alexander Sitkovetsky was joined by four other top rank players to practice for the evening concert which was to feature the original version of the Elgar Piano Quintet. At 6.30 they cleared the stage so that Ken Woods, the conductor and I could give the third of our pre concert talks. Then at 7.30 the evening concert commenced. The audience were on their feet for the accolade that these artists deserved after a stellar performance.
Next stop was Malvern for a concert featuring the brilliant young violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky playing Elgar's Violin Concerto at the Malvern Theatres' complex, set in beautiful, landscaped grounds that were a delight to visit in their own right.
One of the finest performances I have certainly ever heard.
This young man's skill is remarkable, his ability to play every nuance, color and rhythmic power that could be coaxed out of a violin was astonishing.
And such a nice guy, too!
Alexander 'Sasha' Sitkovetsky
Today is the premiere of the song cycle Sea Pictures by Elgar that I have arranged for SATB choir and String Orchestra, originally composed for solo voice and full symphony orchestra
I arrived at the Cathedral mid afternoon just as the choir and orchestra began their final rehearsal. It was, in fact the first time orchestra and choir had met having done only separate rehearsals with conductor Kenneth Woods up till now. Balancing and co-ordinating was the order of the day, a particularly difficult task in such a space as a cathedral. A whole new acoustic for the performers to get to grips with. But they managed it with dedicated work and concentrated effort.
The pre concert lecture and the concert itself garnered a large and enthusiastic audience including the Hon. Secretary and various members of the Elgar Society.
Tomorrow the press reviews will be printed. We'll have to wait and see how we did.
So….it was in fact 2 days of correcting parts and telephone calls with the conductor and orchestral librarian.
The 'errata' list containing the necessary changes was typed up and emailed to the orchestra.
It rained……and rained…..and then it rained again. At least that meant I couldn't go out which was probably a good thing. I could simply check and double check the score and parts…….then the rain stopped and a beautiful rainbow appeared in the valley below my window. Tomorrow we all meet at Hereford Cathedral for the world premiere of the Sea Pictures. Just enough nervous anticipation to keep us all on track with the work to ahead.
Day 1 was set aside for rehearsals.
The orchestra met in a typical English Village Hall set in the beautiful Worcester countryside.
After 9 hard working hours of practice it was time for all to call it a day to meet again at Hereford Cathedral on Day 3. Day 2 was to be spent correcting the inevitable typos in the parts. No rain! Everyone sitting outside having picnic lunch and dinner….and, of course a nice cup of tea at breaktimes.
The daily blog from the ESO concert series