Another good breakfast and off on the coach from Luxembourg to Mannheim. Lunch in another service station before arriving at a lovely hotel in Mannheim. We were playing at the Rosegarten Concert Hall in Mannheim; strangely enough right opposite a beautiful Rose Garden. The rose garten had a magnificently ornate ‘old town water tower’. Our venue was facing the magnificent Maritim hotel.
The venue was another uniquely designed, high class concert hall. It appeared to be housed in an old building, thereby preserving this pretty town centre. The attention to detail and conditions put our halls to shame. We only had a half hour rehearsal so for the break we decided to decamp to the nearby Maredo steak house. Germans really know how to cook and present meat. I had a large rump steak on a cooking stone, with chips and plenty of salad.
The heavy brass were meeting a trombonist called Frank. Our principal trombone had studied nat the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Frank. The horns were occupying another table nearby. Frank lives in Mannheim but has moved from the orchestra there to one in Stuttgart and commutes every day. It was good to meet him on two fronts: where to go in Mannheim and where to go in Stuttgart tomorrow. It was also somewhat depressing to hear about the working conditions enjoyed by musicians in Germany. They remain untouched by swingeing government cuts!
The rehearsal had gone very well. I think things are really happening for the RLPO at the moment. Concerts are full everywhere and the musicians are enjoying their work more than at any time in my twelve years with the orchestra. vasily always tries to achieve something more with the music each day and things are so exciting. It is a crying shame that the government and council are cutting back our revenue grants.
The concert, although musically successful, was not without incident. Robin Haggart’s tuba had been knocked in transit and he was unable to depress one of his valves. Kate Richardson’s [leader of the second violins] broke a string during the first movement. The performance had to be held up momentarily whilst Wendy De Saint-Paer passed her violin up to Kate from the back. The start of the last movement was also delayed momentarily, as Wendy returned on stage, passed Kate her repaired violin back and sat down to continue her own contribution to the proceedings. Once again, the audience would not let the orchestra go without the encore. By now the trombones were playing Trepak with the music upside down and the trumpets/cornets didn’t even bother getting the music out!
Ice cream and kebabs seemed to be very popular with the populace in Mannheim. I had a very large ice-cream on the way back. They also had the obligatory Irish style pub which seemed very popular also. The violas were having a big night out post concert to celebrate Dave Ruby’s birthday. The orchestra ladies were also ‘running amok’ in Mannhein and both ‘nights out’ appeared to converge in riotous assembly in the ‘Sports Bar’ along Bismarck St by the hotel; in full view of the statue of the ‘Honest Broker.’ I observed from a safe distance for a while as I ordered my kebeb. Apparently, Germans refer to the ‘Donner kebab’ in pitta bread as a ‘filled glove.’