I am currently sitting in Warsaw Frederic Chopin International airport, which is closed because air traffic control is down. I wish they would pull themselves together and think happy thoughts as I’m feeling a little down myself now. I want to go home.
We made our debut in Poland last night in Warsaw where we were joined by Emanuel Ax for the second Chopin Piano concerto. The hall had lots of old posters from the Warsaw Philharmonic covering the walls backstage and I was happy to see one from their only appearance in Wales in 1964 at Brangwyn Hall in Swansea. Lovely. Anyway, it was a lovely hall to play in, particularly for Iwona, one of our violinists who is from Warsaw. She had earlier taken us out for lunch in the old town which was wonderful. I was completely unprepared for how beautiful the rebuilt old town is and it is definitely somewhere I would like to go back to – probably when it is warmer to be honest.
Emanuel played the music of Warsaw’s most famous son beautifully and it was no surprise when he had to play two encores before we were able to continue with Petrouska. At the end of the piece the audience leapt to their collective feet with huge cheers for all the individual soloists in the orchestra especially Phil and the trumpet boys who have really excelled themselves on this trip. I do hope we come back here again and that the air traffic controllers are feeling better.
I’ll leave you with another of those bizarre things that happens from time to time on tour. On the last night in Vienna we came off the stage after playing La Valse and I went down the long steep staircase to the dressing room. I was putting my flute away and Gemma our orchestral manager said,