RLPO – Czech Republic Tour 2015 Day Three – Prague Spring Festival Closing Concert


The above photo is the view from my hotel room. It is not a great picture because I can’t open the window but I just wanted to show you how blue the sky is. The weather is fantastic but the temperature is also very warm! Even first thing in the morning, when this was taken.


The view from the rear of our hotel. The finiculi finicula goes up to a bar from where one can see the whole of Prague.


What a view!


I have included these two photos for my wife’s benefit. They are the Japanese Embassy and Cultural Centre near Prague Castle. She is Japanese, by the way!unnamed-10unnamed-3I set off for the old part of Prague again today. I always enjoy looking around this city.unnamed-6There are several busy markets selling all sorts from food and drink to souvenirs and fruit & veg etc. unnamed-4

IMG_4153For lunch, we had previously found a nice restaurant/beer hall, Kolkovna Celnice, just past the market in front of the Smetana Hall. So, the brass section agreed to meet up there before the rehearsal. It would be nice to catch some shade under the trees and parasols outside there as the heat is quite intense.unnamed-8


As stated in other posts about this tour, pork dishes are very popular here but it is nice to have a change every now and then. Several of us went for this very tasty goose leg on sauerkraut, with traditional dumplings for lunch. unnamed-3Sadly, Alan  and Ian had followed their satnav into the busy, winding, narrow streets; straight into a road works and got stuck, causing a huge traffic jam. The police arrived and gave them a hefty spot fine. What chance does that give anyone here! Fortunately, the festival agreed to meet the costs…IMG_0029.JPG


The beautiful Municipal House, known as the Smetana Hall to all.

It was time to head to work for the rehearsal. The programme for the concert this evening consisted of two of the heavyweight works in the canonic repertoire. The first piano concerto by Brahms and symphony no. 7 by Dvorak. Both works in the dramatic key of D minor. I wouldn’t be playing first trumpet in the Brahms, as the Dvorak is quite a tiring piece for the first trumpet. This is the luxury of having three trumpets on tour, as this day only had two trumpet parts in the programme, so we could share it around a bit. Dave Hooper and Paul Marsden get to play the Brahms with soloist Paul Lewis.unnamed-8

Playing orchestra concerts takes a lot of concentration. Travelling on tour is also quite tiring, as is the hot weather here.  Many players try to grab a power nap every now and then to recharge the batteries before rehearsals and concerts. This is Principal Horn Tim Jackson resting his eyes.


The rehearsal started with the piano concerto before my involvement in the Dvorak. The concert, the closing event in the famous Prague Spring Festival, was being recorded for subsequent broadcast on Czech Radio. Vasily only used about two and a half hours of the three hour rehearsal, so we would have two and a half hours free before the performance at eight pm.unnamed-3

unnamed-6After the rehearsal, the trumpet section thought we would kill time before the performance by a visit to another excellent restaurant by the hall and having dinner. The huge pork knuckle above is typical of the traditional Czech food on offer around Prague and was enjoyed by me, on this occasion. Many members of the RLPO had been talking about this particular dish, in fact there had been many reports of RLPO members ‘knuckling’ all over town. I reckoned it was my turn to try it.


Dave Hooper chose a delicious platter with huge chicken wings. They must have big chickens here in the Czech Republic!unnamed-4

 Bizarrely, this restaurant must have been owned by a English Premier League fan!


Ruth Davis (left) oboe, Simon Cowen trombone, and Sophie Coles 2nd violin on the RLPO bus.

The last thing I expected to see in Prague were Sunderland FC napkins!The concert was a resounding success. The audience demanded an encore from Paul Lewis after the Brahms and also from the orchestra and Dvorak 7. We played the Polonaise (known amusingly by many musicians as the Bolognese) from Eugene Onegin. This brought the house down.

Former RLPO Chief Conductor, Petr Altrichter gives John Hebbron (first violin) and Chris Morley (horn) a big hug after the performance.

Former RLPO Chief Conductor, Petr Altrichter gives John Hebbron (first violin) and Chris Morley (horn) a big hug after the performance.

It was really nice to see former RLPO Chief Conductors Libor Pesek and Petr Altrichter in the audience for this concert.


As we would be leaving Prague to travel to Ostrava at 8.15 the next morning, many players opted to not go out in this most hospitable city but return to the hotel on the coach, catch a quick drink and get an early night.


RLPO players enjoying the ambience of a bar local to the hotel after the performance.unnamed-2Tomorrow

CLICK HERE for Brahms and Elgar in Ostrava.



Click here for the previous visit to Prague in 2010

About brendanball

Professional Trumpeter: Soloist, Orchestra Player, Chamber Music, Contemporary Music & Education.
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1 Response to RLPO – Czech Republic Tour 2015 Day Three – Prague Spring Festival Closing Concert

  1. Pingback: RLPO – Czech Tour 2015 Day Two – Prague Spring Festival – Opening Concert | Brendan Ball's Blog

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