So far so good- Ives really came together. I think it would be even better with a bigger string section- it’s very much a chamber orchestra work, but I think the end could be softer with 16 firsts than it can with 6 or 8. This is a fundamental truth that most people don’t realize- bigger string sections can play softer than smaller ones.

Schumann was rather rockin’- what a team Mick Nagle, our principal, assembled. Richard Lewis on 1st was doing his 7th Konzertstucke, and it showed- nerves of steel. Don’t tell him, though, but my favorite part is the 4th horn, too often under-played (except on Gardiner’s recording, which is wonderfully swarthy). Andy Osbourne ripped it (which is good) as did Mick and Andy Feist on 3rd. Fun piece.

(Schumann Konzertstuck, May 2nd 2009, Surrey Mozart Players, Guildford (L-R) Andy Osborne, Andy Feist, Mick Nagle, Dickie Lewis)
Talked possibly too long before the Ives- hope it was worth it. Lots to talk about on this program- fascinating connections, parallels and paradoxes. Coming up, a Mozart symphony, the ultimate core chamber orchestra repertoire, which was premiered by a 106 piece orchestra in Paris (with Mozart present and delighted!), and a Shostakovich symphony, handiwork one of the biggest and noisiest symphonists who ever lived, premiered on string quartet…..

Damn, is it hot on stage here!

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About the author

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.

Learn about Kenneth at

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