RLPO In Hanley…

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RLPO rehearsing in Hanley

It has been a while since I’ve posted anything about the orchestra on here, so here goes… The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra have a large body of work based at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. Throughout the year, we promote a network of several concert series, probably the largest in the UK. Aside from that, we are an international touring orchestra, and we regularly visit the capital, London, to take part in several internationally regarded festivals. The orchestra also has a busy, on-going recording programme.


Alexander Shelley & Thelma Handy about to tune the RLPO and start the rehearsal

When we are not doing this we take are august ensemble out on the road to take our music to what we call ‘out-of-town’ concerts. This is when we visit venues around other parts of the UK to display our wares. Our previous chief conductor, Gerard Schwarz, used to refer to these occasions as ‘rush-outs’, so, I suppose that is the term these visits are known as in the USA (for this blog’s increasing readership over there).

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It’s a stressful life for RLPO 2nd trumpet Paul Marsden

Last week we visited Hanley, next to Stoke, in the North of England (just a bit further South than Liverpool) to the magnificent Victoria Hall. This impressive concert venue has undergone a fairly recent refurbishment but has retained all it’s original Victorian splendour. It is home to a busy concert season, which features ourselves, The BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, the Halle, and others.

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RLPO rehearsing in Victoria Hall Hanley

On this occasion, we would be offering our audience a full programme of Mozart, under the stewardship of conductor Alexander Shelley. I used to do concerts in London for Alexander’s Dad, Howard Shelley, the concert pianist. Our world famous Royal Philharmonic Choir would be accompanying us on this trip for Mozart’s Requiem and Kyrie K368a, plus the Jupiter Symphony. The stellar line up of soloists were, Soprano Lydia Teuscher, Mezzo (our very own Scouser) Jennifer Johnston, Tenor Benjamin Hulett and Bass Alexander Knop.

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RLPO Horns Dave Pigott & Tim Nicholson, and Percussionist Jo Frieze

One thing about the Victoria Hall is the presence of a magnificent organ. The organist I do recitals with, Ian Tracey, and I were admiring the instrument and certainly considering putting on one of our regular concerts there. Ian is the RLPC choir conductor and always accompanies the choir, even when they are conducted by the RLPO conductor.

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The beautiful organ in Hanley

Since our last visit, there has been extensive redevelopment of the surrounding area and we were very pleased to see that progress had left one of our favourite pus, The Coachman, exactly as we had left it. Several of us had even provided signatures to help The Coachmakers Arms with it’s campaign for survival on our last visit. Over the road, where a car park stood, is now a state-of-the art bus terminus, providing a busy hub and influx of people to and from the area.

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Our new Principal Second Trombone, Simon Powell (Our entire trombone section are called Simon, by the way, and one of our horns!) would be undertaking his first big solo with the orchestra, since joining in September. The Tuba Mirum, in Mozart’s Requiem, strikes terror into the hearts of many professional 2nd trombones the world over. Simon was fantastic!!! Including the rehearsals in Liverpool, performance in Liverpool and rehearsal and concert in Hanley, Simon didn’t put a foot wrong. Note perfect every time. Has no-one told him it’s supposed to be hard?!

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Simon Powell playing the Tuba Mirum, Simon Chappell in the background, Simon Cowens hand & instrument in the foreground.

Before our coaches left for the return journey to Liverpool, we had time at last to go to The Coachmakers Arms for some much needed refreshment and a good laugh, before boarding the bus.

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Coachmakers Arms Hanley

This week, the RLPO will be offering a programme of music by Ravel, Debussy and Rodrigo back at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, with French Conductor Alexander Bloch…

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Alexander Shelley rehearsing the RLPO

About brendanball

Professional Trumpeter: Soloist, Orchestra Player, Chamber Music, Contemporary Music & Education.
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