The RLPO toured Japan recently. Whilst there we had the luxury of playing several concerts in the afternoon, rather than the evening. This gives the musicians the evening off to explore all the sights and sounds etc. Normally, as here in Bucharest, our concerts are in the evening, so the free part of the day is in the morning. Of course, when having a good look around, we can see better in the morning. Also, for those who like a bit of night life (and a good lie in!), the many bars and restaurants are open well into the early hours of the morning.
We generally like to wander around nearby to the hotel and venue, with some wandering a little further afar, time willing. The food here is great! It is so well presented too. It rminds me a little of Germanic, Czech type of foods with a lot of grilled, roasted meats and hearty meat, bean stews and I also came across plenty of dumplings. Prices are very reasonable too. Bang goes the pre-tour diet!
This is Chris Morley, of the French horn section. Chris is a keen brass bandsman and is often pictured on tour in his Greenalls Brass Band t-shirt. Here he is on the steps of his new club, in Bucharest!
We had a late lunch. I enjoyed this terrific entrecote steak, with rosemary potatoes and salad. I can still taste it now!
There are many really beautiful churches, monasteries, ornate buildings and monuments to see here. Also the pretty streets and squares are a real pleasure to walk around. The weather is just glorious, too. Principal Bass Trombone, Simon Chappell measured the temperature as 31 degrees and we were sitting in the shade!
On arrival at the Grand Palace Hall, home of the Enescu Festival, we saw our Platform Managers had arrived before us. They had set off in the lorry on Sunday and were now arriving to set up on Thursday. That is a long drive from Liverpool! Our next venue after Bucharest is the Royal Albert Hall in London. The lorry would be driving straight there after we leave Romania on Saturday.
This is the front of the very imposing Grand Palace Hall. It is a huge hall; a modern edifice, located in the centre of Bucharest. It was built right next to the Royal Palace (now the National Museum of Art). The Grand Palace Hall has a capacity of 4,060 seats!
At the outset of the tour, my camera-phone had gone missing, so I took some pictures from my lap top during this rehearsal. For some reason, the photos I took of this rehearsal are back to front, but I think you can get the picture…
Other photos are supplied by my colleagues for the blogs and the marvellous shots of the concerts are kindly given by the official festival photographer, Roza Zah.
These are the reasons my blogs are later than usual this time. Sorry!
Other orhestras appearing this year are the Israel Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Dresden, San Franscisco Symphony, London Symphony, Saint Petersburg Philharmonic, Bayerisches Staatsorchester & Opera, Vienna Philharmonic, Enescu Philharmonic & Choir and our good selves the RLPO. Following us would be the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
Not a bad line up then!
It always surprising to me that a hundred musicians can all turn up on time for rehearsals in a completely strange place, having wandered all over the place! There are hardly ever any instances of tardiness that could possibly have been avoided.
Here is the RLPO Assistant Platform Manager, Alan ‘Fingers’ Scollins, displaying his solo wares. Behind him is Collette Astley-Jones, from the management talking to me.
The Programme for the first of our two concerts was as follows:
Respighi : Le Fontane Di Roma
Glazunov : Violin Concert in A minor, Opus 82
Rachmaninov : Symphony no.1 in D minor, Opus 13
Both concerts were conducted by Chief Conductor Vasily Petrenko
The performance was greeted with rapturous applause and a standing ovation from the total audience. They appeared not to want us to leave the stage at all. Vasily teased them about whether or not they wanted an encore, exciting them still further, before leading the RLPO through the Men’s Dance from Aleko by Rachmaninov.
Time to hit the town for a bit of enjoyment. Here is RLPO Principal Trombone enjoying himself outside Caru ce bere!