Synergy represented by:

L-R: Amanda Morrison, Alastair Putt, Gerard O’Beirne, Andrew Busher, Micaela Haslam

“Having spent the previous evening Photoshopping Alastair into our Three Tales publicity shots (see above), I headed off to Heathrow to meet him and Mandy.  We flew to Düsseldorf then took a train to Gelsenkirchen.  We couldn’t stay in Essen because there was no room at the proverbial inn.  Apparently, there was a big conference happening in Essen, so there weren’t enough hotel rooms for Ensemble Modern and us – or perhaps all these people had come into town to come to our concert.

Essen Philharmonie

Gerry and Andy were in Paris with the Monteverdi Choir and, for some weeks, had had a cunning plan to drive from Paris to Essen after their show on 15th, to arrive in the early hours of 16th April.  Our rehearsal was to be at 11am, so they should have been able to fit in a half-decent night’s sleep.  However, two days before this epic journey, I learned that Andy hadn’t brought his driving licence with him to Paris, so Gerry would have to do all the driving.  Added to that, Gerry had just spoken to someone in the know who told him that the journey by car would actually take about 3 hours longer than they had anticipated.  So, having put a deposit on a hire car in Paris, they had to book train tickets after all, at vastly inflated prices.  What a pair! – good job we love them.

Our hotel in Gelsenkirchen appeared to be in a 70’s time-warp, but fortunately the rooms were very comfortable, and there was a delightful park onto which our breakfast salon looked out.

You see why I call it a breakfast salon!

It was great to be singing Three Tales again.  We hadn’t done the piece in quite a while.  It’s rather expensive to put on, because there is lot of technical wizardry involved – projection, sound track, click tracks, lighting and of course amplification – but I think it’s worth it.  For me, the third section Dolly is a bit too long, but there is some wonderful music in the piece and I love the Gauguinesque images in the 2nd movement, Bikini.  The vibraphone parts in Dolly are truly virtuoso, and it’s a (loud!) thrill to hear them at such close range played by David Haller and Boris Müller.

Clockwise from left: David, Boris, Rumi, Alastair (behind Andy), Gerry

As you can see, Andy and Gerry made it to Essen just in time for the sound check and rehearsal.  The sound check took quite a long time as there were some technical issues to fix.  It’s rather ironic that the first words sung in Three Tales are “It could not have been a technical matter”.  I think those words have jinxed the piece.  The first time we performed it at the Barbican, we had to restart when the click-track cut out.  Anyway, I took the opportunity here to take an arty shot of Herman, hidden away at the back of the stage behind his piano.

Herman Kretzschmar

The Philharmonie is a huge hall.  It wasn’t full by any means, but I was reassured to learn that ours was as big an audience as they ever got for a classical concert.  So Three Tales is back up and running, and I’m pleased to say that it gets another outing later in the year.  See you in Krakow.”

L-R: Rainer, Boris and David - triumphant after our first Three Tales performance this year!


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