Friday 14 June 2013, 15:53
It has been a week of very varied work for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Indeed, it has been one of those weeks that make you feel a little cross eyed as it passes you by in a veritable blizzard of notes.
First off, we had a concert with Jac van Steen, our principal guest conductor. This programme introduced our audience to the music of Dutch composer Otto Ketting (who sadly passed away at the end of last year).
We performed his Symphony No 1, and I would be keen to hear more works by this composer. Although undoubtedly modern, embracing elements of tonality and atonality, there remains a romanticism about this music that I feel makes it most approachable from a listener perspective.
Also on the programme was Bartók's Third Piano Concerto (does anyone else think the fugue subject sounds a little like an Irish jig, or am I just homesick?), fantastically executed by soloist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, and Shostakovich's arrangement of Mussorgsky's Khovanshchina Prelude to Act 1.
Concluding the concert was Prokofiev's final symphony, with Prokofiev's originally intended ending. My mother enjoyed it very much - she was listening in on BBC Radio 3.
Straight off the back of our live broadcast on Tuesday night, we had a day's rehearsal in preparation for our 24 July Prom with Jac. This is a big programme comprising of music by Walton and Bantock, in addition to Tchaikovsky Symphony No 4 and Elgar's Falstaff.
We played Tchaik 4 quite recently, so it still feels quite fresh under the fingers. Elgar's Falstaff on the other hand, I have had to conclude is pure unadulterated evil. So. Many. Notes.
Without stopping for breath, on Thursday we were back in the studio recording for the next series of the hit BBC children's show Wizards vs Aliens. The programme team had brought in a lovely big bag of sweeties for the orchestra to enjoy, a gesture that was very much appreciated.
Now, before we get into BBC Cardiff Singer of the World rehearsals on Sunday, we have one day of recording for a TV programme. I don't know if I'm allowed to tell you details about it yet, but you will actually get to see our faces instead of just hearing us! More details to be revealed soon, I'm sure.
Next week comes BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, and then our Season Finale (Huw Watkins' Violin Concerto and Mahler 5), and then the Proms. There are many, many notes to be learnt over the next few months, and it can be very easy to feel overwhelmed.
I'm a natural born worrier, and if I don't stay organised and on top of things, I start to feel a little like I'm on a treadmill that someone has set to too high an incline, and too fast a speed. So, I am using my day off today to make sure I have everything I need - all the necessary music, all the schedule changes carefully noted.
Next week, however, I shall be bringing you lots of Cardiff Singer gossip, and of course, much chat about frocks - obviously an integral part of the competition.
BBC National Orchestra of Wales will be performing next week as part of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2013 competition. Find out how the competition is being covered on TV and radio on the Cardiff Singer website.
Friday 14 June 2013, 13:44
Friday 14 June 2013, 16:04