upright fashion

The first part of the afternoon session is a tale of three upright men. I’m talking about posture, of course. Rafal Janiak, Mihhail Gerts and Giancarlo Rizzi are on the taller side anyway, but they all stand up straight.

But you shouldn’t imagine that means they are rigid in their movements, and the seriousness of their demeanour doesn’t mean they come across as overly earnest. They even manage to get a laugh or two out of the orchestra once or twice. (If you are looking for laughs, though, best not tap your baton on the stand – naming no names, but it does sound a bit like swearing in church, so rarely do you hear it.)

Read more ...

Eyes down

I mentioned earlier that my vantage point today is in a balcony overlooking the stage at Milton Court.

It’s a lot closer to the action than I was yesterday so I’m seeing things in much more detail. (One reason why I may have underestimated the beard count in round one – I was too far away to see anything but the fuller kind.)

Read more ...

faced with the new

The musicians on stage are all looking around wondering what they are supposed to be doing. No, it’s not because they have lost their places in some complex piece of contemporary music but because it’s break time and we are only an hour in to the session.

It seems as if we have only just got going, but in order to give everyone an uninterrupted half hour it means the timetable is a bit lopsided. But the players are given the nod and, except for a few percussionists fine-tuning the placement of their numerous bits of kit, they all walk backstage for a coffee.

Read more ...

We're halfway

Another real contrast in styles with conductors numbers three and four in the running order and it came across particularly in the way they approached their respective concertos.

First, Jiri Rozen, content to sit back somewhat in the Sibelius, neat in the way he gave his cues, always in control and conscious of trying to ensure the orchestra fit with the violinist. But did I get the sense that the violinist was looking for more of a response, more connection in the lyrical slow movement, more of an interaction between herself and orchestra?

Read more ...

Day 2: Introduction

Day two of the Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition 2014 and it’s not the bright and crisp day we had yesterday.

What’s more, when I arrived through the drizzle at Milton Court one of the staff on duty took me for one of the conductor competitors. Serves me right for making a crack about their rather identikit fashion sense yesterday!

Read more ...