Synergy represented by:

Amanda Morrison, Micaela Haslam, Andrew Busher, Gerard O’Beirne, Alastair Putt, Rachel Weston, Amy Haworth, Heather Cairncross

Sharing a joke after our "Three Tales" rehearsal, L-R: Mandy, Brad Lubman (conductor), Gerry, Alastair, Andy, Rafal Payne (violin)

“Our 2nd and 3rd concerts in Krakow included performances of Three Tales and Tehillim respectively, in the very much smaller Laznia Nowa Theater. This was another bumpy bus ride from our hotel and down such a narrow lane that the driver had to drop us off 2 streets away.

Both concerts were very late (10pm) with mid-day rehearsals, so Krakow sight-seeing time was sadly curtailed – at least for those of us involved in all the concerts. I know everyone says it, but Krakow really is a very beautiful city, and one of the few places I’d consider revisiting for a “city-break”, even though I’m not a huge fan of “city-breaks”. My idea of a break is to stay well away from any city!

Pretty Krakow

Food market

Anyway, Three Tales went very well, and it was lovely to have Beryl Korot (video artist) with us, as well as Steve of course. All was fine on stage, except that we couldn’t hear the speaking voices on the film, many of which provide our cues to stand up and sing. There is one section in the third movement (Dolly) where we sit for about a hundred bars, then we stand quickly and sing. Thankfully, I’d totted up all the bars rest during the rehearsal and made a note to count them, but unfortunately, when I sat down I couldn’t see my writing – at the bottom of the page, in the dark, and masked by the stand. I had a vague idea of the number of bars, counted like mad, then just leapt up and hoped for the best. Thankfully, we all came in at the right place, but I knew that the others were following me for this lead, so it was somewhat stressful. Note to self – write the number of bars rest at the top of the page and highlight the number in yellow!

Inside the Laznia Nowa Theatre

The Tehillim concert should have been straightforward, but when we got on to the stage, our music stands were in darkness. Sometimes, lighting designers bring the lights up at the last minute for dramatic effect, but we got the distinct impression that this wasn’t going to happen. Fortunately, Brad Lubman’s music was also in the dark, so he didn’t launch into the piece. Finally, I had to make a request for more light. The radio audience must have been wondering what was going on. Anyway, I’m glad we didn’t have to do the piece from memory!

It was a real treat to discover that Julia Wolfe and David Lang were at this concert, and I ended up chatting with them for so long afterwards that I missed the bus and had to get a later ride back with the techies. There’s never enough time to catch up properly, especially when the concerts are so late. Beryl and Julia are great friends, and they’re both so delightful to chat with. It was just a shame that we were all staying in different hotels, and the Synergy team was leaving the following morning.

"Three Tales" team with Steve and Beryl

Fortunately, our hotel bar stayed open very late, so even at 1am there was time to catch up with our friends from Asko|Schönberg who had just arrived in Krakow for their concert the following day. There are several Synergy/Asko projects in the offing for 2012. Fingers crossed that they all materialise.

So, well done Krakow on a wonderful festival and I hope you’ll have us back another year. Anything less than an audience of 3,000 just isn’t enough now!”