That was the beginning of the week that was

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…

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American conductor, composer and cellist Kenneth Woods is Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Colorado MahlerFest and cellist of the string trio Ensemble Epomeo. He records for the Avie, Somm, Nimbus, Signum, MSR and Toccata labels.

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4 comments on “That was the beginning of the week that was”

  1. Pingback: Kenneth Woods- a view from the podium » A tribute to Glenn Gould- Ken Woods interviews Ken Woods Pt I

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