The RLPO have been working with the renowned international British conductor, Andrew Manze for the last two weeks. Andrew is always eagerly anticipated. His musicianship, scholarship, expertise and wonderful manner with musicians is always an absolute pleasure. What a joy!
Having been one of the orchestra’s Artists in Residence in 2013/14, Andrew Manze returned to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra this month for three performances with the orchestra and a cd recording of Vaughan Williams’ ‘A London Symphony’. On 4 December (Liverpool Philharmonic Hall) Manze conducted Walton Façade: Suite No.1, Butterworth Two English Idylls, Vaughan Williams The Lark Ascending (RLPO leader James Clark as soloist), and Vaughan Williams ‘A London Symphony’. Manze also took the trouble to rehearse the Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Orchestra during an already busy time.
This evening (10th December), Manze gave another performance at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall when he conducted a different first half including Mozart The Marriage of Figaro: Overture, Brahms Violin Concerto, supposed to be with soloist Vilde Frang and once again including Beethoven Symphony No.6.
Each time Andrew appears with us some mishap appears to attempt to derail our performances! Previously we have had; a flood, a fire and a total power cut to the immediate area…
This time (because our beloved Liverpool Philharmonic Hall is still undergoing redevelopment) we have encountered cancelations due to another flood, fumes from the new varnish on the stage and the central heating breaking down leaving us with a temperature to cold to record ‘A London Symphony’. My goodness!
However, all of this seems pretty tame to the events of the last two days. Here is a seemingly appropriate breathless account!
Yesterday soloist Vilda Frang missed her plane making rehearsal for the Brahms violin concerto impossible. Vilda arrived in Liverpool last night but fell very sick the next day. Jeez!!! Violin ‘god’ James Ehnes just happened to be in Birmingham Symphony Hall this afternoon playing the Walton Violin Concerto. With an afternoon’s notice, James agreed to help us out. He ran for the train, arriving to play just before the show – no rehearsal at all! I don’t write this lightly, but that must be the most exquisite playing of the Brahms I have ever heard (and well deserved Bach encore). He deserves a meddle for helping us out at all never mind treating the orchestra and audience to such beautiful playing. Then, Manze delivered the Beethoven 6 to die for!!! As exciting and exhilarating a performance as I can remember. Manze made certain each note from each player really was played! It also felt rather ironic playing the fourth movement (The Storm) as gales, hail and torrential rain beat against the hall outside. You just couldn’t make all this up. Even the music critic for the evening went sick! Well, it’s a living!!!!! Get a ticket for Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, there is something exciting for everyone around here. I reckon the media should be in attendance just in case anything happens. The show is available on BBC iPlayer as the performance tonight was also a live broadcast for BBC Radio 3, presented beautifully to the nation by Halle French horn player Tom Redmond and including an explanation of the days events by James Ehnes himself. Click on the link below to hear the performance. I hope you get as much enjoyment as we all did…
James Ehnes’ post on Facebook tonight, “… A crazy day today – I received a call just before my matinée performance of Walton concerto about a cancellation in Liverpool for TONIGHT, leaving them in a tight spot. Brahms concerto, with my friend Andrew Manze, live on BBC Radio 3. So, Walton with Birmingham and Andrew Litton at 2:15, then Brahms at 7:30 (in about at hour) in Liverpool. A bit nuts, but two of my favorite concertos with two of my favorite orchestras in the same day…… how could I refuse??”
Andrew Manze has a terrific sense of humour and said jokingly before the concert, “… Don’t worry, I promise to be on a plane after the concert and out of the country before anything else happens!”
Personally, I can hardly wait for his next appearance with the RLPO. The recording of Vaughan Williams’ ‘A London Symphony’ has been rescheduled for March. The other eight symphonies are to follow.
For those who don’t already know, Andrew Manze is himself a violinist of world renown, being described as the Paganini of the baroque violin.