It’s currently day 10 on the NYO Spring Residency. We have one more day of rehearsing before we are off to Liverpool for our first concert, wahey.
François-Xavier Roth arrived two days ago and has been filling the room with his wisdom and charm in every bar of music. He is amazing. I am so privileged to be able to play under his baton. Well, under his pencil. (I don’t think he’s going to use a baton in performance.)
I love the way he works with us layer by layer. He isolates lines and rhythms shared across the orchestra and tells us exactly what to do in order to sound warmer, neater, crisper, more melodic, in tune, special; to feel safe; to feel the music.
He does something which I’ve never seen a conductor do before. He tells us to stop playing and just say out loud every down beat he beats with the pencil. He tells us to watch him conduct, to know how much space he gives us for each bar of the music. All 165 of us watch the intangible mass of rhythm, sound and breath rise and fall. We are all in a trance. Sort of.
Then he tells us funny stories. One time he did a world premiere performance of a modern piece which was aired live on the radio, but lost himself in the score for several minutes.
He’s also amazing because he never works us too hard.
He finishes rehearsals early! What?!
(More time for revision…)
So yeah, we leave Durham on Thursday morning for three back-to-back concerts in Liverpool, Newcastle and London.
There are three concerts – no excuses for non-attendance!
Here’s a taster of what we sounded like at the start of the residency with Gerry, our rehearsal conductor:
And here’s a lovely video of the NYO percussion section, talking about the variety of instruments in ‘Asyla’.
I think I might weep with joy at the end of each concert. The music is just so addictive and luxurious and surprising and delicious.