I may have imagined it, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I slept in my own bed yesterday, or was it the day before? After the Prom where socks were blown off and Christine Pendrill astonished us all with her fabulous cor anglais playing, we all had a short time to turn around. I got back home at midnight, packed my bag again and then slept briefly before getting up at 5.30 to go back to a weirdly empty Terminal 2 at Heathrow. I know at some point I was in the mountains in Gstaad, but this week has been so ferocious in its intensity that I’m really not sure when. Yesterday we were in Milan. No wait, that’s where we landed, we went to Stresa and played a show in a small hall in which we only just managed to fit on the stage. I think that most of the audience are still attached to their seats such was the volume in the compact space. We came out in the the late evening to torrential rain and a river running down the hill to the lake. This meant a quick dash back to the hotel and then a bowl of Pasta and some wine before bed.
I have to tell you at this point in the blog that I will be revealing two amazing secrets about Valery and his philosophy on conducting and also his super human time travel. Brace yourselves.
If I had a penny for every person who asked me how we follow the maestro I would have heavy pockets. The questions normally involve key phrases like fluttering hands or sweeping gestures or toothpick. There is a very simple answer. I think in one of my more prosaic moments, I described the look in his eyes or something like that,which still stands. However, I am normally asked by people who aren’t professional musicians how we follow him. Put it this way, I’ve never had a string player from one of the other London orchestras asking me how we follow the conductor, he already knows the answer. Its our job. I’m sure nobody asks Lewis Hamilton how he drives so fast without crashing, or the Queen how she manages to look so royal. No the truth is, its his job to conduct and our job to follow-simple as that. I had this theory (which you can imagine took me years to come up with) confirmed by Valery in the rehearsal for the concert. During the Shostakovitch, one of the trumpets asked him if he was going to give 2 or 4 beats in to the last movement or if he was just going to start. Valery smiled and paused for a moment.