Synergy represented by

Left to right: Micaela Haslam, Heather Cairncross, Amanda Morrison, Jenny Bacon

“A quick jaunt to Frankfurt for a run-through of Music for 18 with Ensemble Modern and Steve Reich at EM’s rehearsals studios, then off to Strasbourg by train. It was gorgeously sunny in both cities. I’ve never seen Frankfurt looking so good, and Strasbourg was positively baking.

Everyone was in good form, though Jenny was fighting off a lurgie. She managed to keep it at bay, largely by borrowing kettles at hotel receptions and inhaling steam. I was very grateful that she was alright on the night as I didn’t fancy singing soprano 1 – too many top B’s. Actually, it’s not so much those as the 2 patterns in sections 2 and 7 that seem to go on for ever – both set between E and top A. There’s nowhere to swallow, and you feel as though your larynx is going to self-combust if it doesn’t get out of that range!

Heather, Mandy and Jenny on arrival in Strasbourg

New development round the Cité

The Cité de la Musique in Strasbourg is relatively new and contains a very fine concert hall. It proved to be perfect for this piece – big enough, but not too resonant which would have made it a nightmare for Norbert (EM’s very lovely and brilliant sound engineer).

Rehearsing in the Cité

Boris on crucial marimba 3

We (well Steve, actually) decided on a slightly slower tempo for this performance which made for a rather nice “chilled” version of Music for 18, instead of the more driven, incisive version we often get with EM (which also works really well, I have to say). Steve joked after the concert that as we all get older, the piece will get slower and slower, down to crotchet=60. Can you imagine? It would be like the all-night Vespers!!

Many congratulations were in the air after the concert, and I was very touched to hear Steve say, “you always play better when you play with friends”. He’s absolutely right!”


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