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stravinsky was 'ere

Sure enough, we’re getting a fair amount of Stravinsky this afternoon.

But Jiri Rozen wanted to tie up some loose ends with Scheherazade first – by the looks of it he spent the time after his morning appearance figuring out exactly which passages he felt most uncertain about, or that were the most liable to trip him up later, because he focused specifically on those moments and not simply playing through long stretches of music again.

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rimsky business

I have a confession: I find the first movement of Scheherazade quite the most tedious piece of music. Is it just me? Once the nice violin solo is out the way, it’s wave upon wave of unremitting string crossing and the same tune, which is only half a tune, isn’t it, when you think about it?

I think conductors like it, mind. Bar after bar of sweeping music to get stuck into, summoning one surge after another and few banana skins on the way. It suits Mihhail Gerts to the ground, and he spent part of his morning session playing through the movement without stopping. The last movement of the Stravinsky Symphony in Three Movements, although very different in character suits him too.

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Day 3: Introduction (and an obvious pun)

The action today moves to the Barbican concert hall, and it’s the full might of the London Symphony Orchestra who will confront our plucky young conductors this morning.

With half an hour or so to go before rehearsals begin, I’ve seen one of them wandering about the Barbican foyer looking rather nonplussed by it all. I don’t suppose the others are far behind.

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first up

The first 50 minutes are up (I said earlier that the conductors each get 40 minutes per session, but it is in fact 50), and it is the Czech Jiri Rozen who has finished his first turn.

A nice moment: after rehearsing a passage he drops his hands and says a big thankyou. The orchestra give him a clap and tap a few bows on stands, and give him a smile that must surely encourage him. But, ha ha, he’s not going anywhere just yet! He still has 5 minutes of his time left.

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The finalists are...

…Elim Chan, Jiri Rozen and Mihhail Gerts.

Congratulations to all three, who now face a busy night preparing for the competition. Or will they decide, like the previous winner Alexandre Bloch, just to get a really good night’s sleep?

See you tomorrow!

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