Vftp Headquarters Welcomes back….. Me!

Hi Vftp fans (!) and friends–

Well, as the man said, what a long, strange trip it has been.

I returned to Cardiff and Vftp International Headquarters yesterday after a full month on the road. Unusually, half of that trip was for VACATION- hence the lack of any recent posts here.

After 2 weeks of blissful sight-seeing, hiking and family time, it really struck me when I got home yesterday just how insanely busy I had been in all the weeks leading up to our get-away. I had completely forgotten that the night before we left for America, I had done a pretty big concert with the HSO (Franck D minor, Saint-Saens 3rd Violin Concerto and Berlioz Corsaire Overture), and only been home for about 3 hours between that concert our departure for Heathrow. There was still junk from that concert in the car when we got to Heathrow yesterday, but it seemed like relics of a distant epoch.

2010 has been a very, very intense and busy year so far, and there is a huge backlog of stuff I meant to write about and hope still to write about, but I’ve been humbled enough by past failings not to promise readers  too much. Much as I would like to say that this week we can look forward to posts about x, y and z, all I can really say is that it is great to be back, and that I certainly have a lot of ground to cover about June concerts, the Rose City International Conductor’s Workshop, the Gal CD and projects ahead.

Meanwhile, it is time to start learning some music again. Between May 31 and July 11, I  did 8 programs with 8 orchestras, with no repeated repertoire on any of those concerts, but since finishing the workshop on the 11th of July, I have not opened a score! It felt good.

Next up is the Harlech Orchestral Summer School, which is a mountain of rep, much of it new to me-

Arnold- The Inn of Sixth Happiness
Janacek- Taras Bulba
Mahler – Symphony No 5
Niccolai- Overture to the Merry Wives of Windsor
Prokofiev- Selections from Romeo and Juliet Suite No.  2
Rachmaninov – Isle of the Dead
Ravel – La valse
Shostakovich – Symphony No 6
Walton- Variations on a Theme of Paul Hindemith

I’ve done Mahler 5 quite recently, but it’s always a lot to take in. I usually do the Prokofiev R&J music in my own selection of music from the 3 suites, which I can make a little closer to the plot of the play than the suites themselves are, and so there are a couple of movements in the 2nd Suite that are new. I did the Niccolai recently on the SMP Viennafest concert back in January. Everything else is new, and the Shostakovich, Janacek, Ravel, Walton and Racnmaninoff should keep me busy for the next 2 weeks.

So, maybe I can deliver a new wealth of Vftp posts this week, and maybe I can’t! Maybe it is time for a post on how to learn scores really, really freakin’ fast.

In any case, I hope readers are all having a good summer. Thanks for your comments, and please keep in touch!!

Ken

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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 www.kennethwoods.net

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