Day six found the RLPO travelling from Mannheim to Stuttgart. The coach journey involved the now daily communal crossword, retelling of past events and other jocular stuff. Morale in this orchestra is always good, even on these long arduous trips and it is a pleasure to be a member of a body containing such dedicated and talented people. Each person looking out for everyone else. I suppose that is the nature of playing in a successful orchestra also; being one unit of the whole. David Mason, one of my trumpet professors at the Royal College of Music, used to try to stop my ‘fancy’ trumpet playing, describing playing in an orchestra being just one stop on the organ; meaning that you have to fit in, not stick out like a sore thumb. The personal interaction is very similar, also.
We arrived at the hotel outside Stuttgart, set in the forest. With a few hours to kill, some went into town, but many chose to cycle, run or walk through the many designated trails in the conservation forest. Some even told off by ‘rangers’ for walking down paths less than three metres wide. Forest conservation is obviously taken seriously over here. There was also a ‘naturalist’ communal jacuzzi in the hotel, but I don’t know if it got used.
The main concert hall in Stuttgart is a very large eye-catching room. It is a part of a complex of three music halls. It appears to be designed to resemble the shape of a human ear. Sadly, the stage proved to be a little bit of a squeeze for such a huge orchestra. The organ appeared to be spot on in tune already so the rehearsal was only brief.
During the break before the concert we retired to the adjoining bar. Food was incredibly cheap. For fourteen euros we could eat an unlimited amount of spare ribs. Huge platters of traditional German food were ordered and swiftly consumed. We had been told that tomorrow’s concert in Regensburg would find food outlets to be very scarce. So, the lovely Jane Moss [tour orchestra manager] offered to go to the nearby Aldi and stock up on supplies for us. The concert was another roaring success and we boarded the coach back to the hotel after performing yet another encore.
Once back in the hotel, everyone appeared to converge on the quaint little hotel bar at once and a real party atmosphere ensued. It appeared to have been a while since the hotel bar had been ‘hit’ like this. We were joined later by the ‘Bass-ty Boys’, the bass section, who had all been into town for a good night out. I concerned myself mainly with finally getting this blog out, at long last, but I was able to keep popping back into the bar each time the lousy internet held me up.