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.

He uses the time to cover a couple of moments more in the finale of the Rimsky-Korsakov, including the tricky, very quiet ending – tricky because it involves three pizzicato notes and quiet notes in the rest of the orchestra. These will be the last things the audience (and jury) hear tonight, so if they don’t sound together… well, it would hardly be the triumphant kind of conclusion that you might hope for.

Other than his premature leave-taking and the good-natured laughter it inevitably brought about, it has been a session short on incident. Perhaps even a little too quiet, dare I say? Rozen was as unflustered as over the past two days, generally content to let the orchestra take centre stage, rehearsing only one or two specific moments – getting the fast tempo he wanted and the exact length of the opening chords in the Beethoven, for example.

He’ll be back this afternoon, when it looks like he will be spending his time on the Stravinsky. He gets the first movement, and it’s not an easy ride!