Stravinsky and the Strange Case of the Chicken and the Wooden Leg

May 11, 2012 | Categories: Blog | Tags: , ,

I just found myself googling ‘ “Stravinsky” “stick a deckchair up your nose” ‘. Let me explain, lest you think this is a sign of further mental degeneration: I recently read a wonderful book on the master conductor Pierre Monteux, who, amongst other notable achievements, conducted the premiere performances of Petrouchka and the Rite of Spring. [...]

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Not for the Likes of Us?

April 24, 2012 | Categories: Blog | Tags: , , ,

If you’ll pardon me channeling Peter Griffin from Family Guy for a moment, something that really grinds my gears happened again recently: I was mistaken for a Public School Boy. For anyone reading this from outside the rather narrow British tradition, a public school is the exact opposite of what it says on the tin. [...]

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Wabi sabi

April 10, 2012 | Categories: Blog | Tags: , , ,

I’m in Finland at the moment to conduct a concert including Vaughan Williams’ Fifth Symphony – it might sound like an odd work to perform here but in the composers own words it’s ‘Dedicated, without permission, to Jean Sibelius’, so the idea isn’t all that left field. There are Sibelian whiffs every now and again, [...]

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Falling in love, all over again

March 19, 2012 | Categories: Blog, Orchestras | Tags: , , , ,

I remember the first time I walked into the vast atrium of the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and falling deeply and irrevocably in love. Of course it’s just the same old trick cathedral builders have been using for a thousand years, enclosing air and light on such a grand scale as to give [...]

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Shut up and wave your arms…

January 15, 2012 | Categories: Blog, Conducting | Tags: , , , ,

A dear friend of mine, a German conductor who I wonʼt embarrass by naming, once went to work with a Russian orchestra. Before the first rehearsal he sidled up to the concertmaster to ask which language he should work in; he knew that some Russians speak better German than English and wanted to use the [...]

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