What a weekend. Wednesday, WSO….
Long drive up to Wrexham after a busy day in Cardiff.
It was concert week at the WSO, and we’d had a funny run up to it. We’ve been working together over many weeks on this program. I usually dislike weekly rehearsals, as I feel so much is forgotten in the long and busy days between rehearsals… The run up to the concert week has been less than ideal- Sue and I had been off for a week on a much-needed Easter break, so the orchestra’s leader and sometime conductor Mark took that rehearsal, then the next week (that is the week before the concert) I arrived to find that all the orchestra’s many young members (who make up a large and vital portion of the string section in particular) were off on their spring youth orchestra course. Rehearsing Elgar 1 with a string section more appropriate to an early Mozart symphony the week before a concert is not a confidence builder for anyone.
However, there I was Wednesday, with the young players back and with a number of well-chosen extras on scene for the first time, as well as our young soloist (fourteen year-old Bethan Morgan-Williams). In a two hour rehearsal one doesn’t have a lot of room for choice in planning a rehearsal if you have two very long works to rehearse (there was about an hour and 40 minutes of music on the program). I did feel that the concerto needed some detail work with the soloist, particularly in the last movement, so work we did, then took a break and ran the entire symphony with me trying to sneak in a bit of feedback along the way. It’s a risk- there’s no time to stop and point out mistakes unless they’re huge- you have to completely trust the musicians. Terrible construction delays on drive back to Cardiff. Driving after Elgar= yuck! Driving into the wee hours of the morning after Elgar…