Everything is organized and everyone is ready to go, but then there is a train strike... Alena (Project Manager) gave us all alternative travel options and everyone made it to Würzburg for the 1st rehearsal in the orchestral rehearsal room at the Mainfranken Theatre at 3 o'clock with Renaud Capuçon. Many of us know Renaud since youth orchestra times and there was a nice atmosphere rehearsing together.
Four beautiful pieces on the programme, Mozart's Paris Symphony and C-major Rondo, Bach's A-minor Violin Concerto and Vasks' Violin Concerto Distant Light. Last mentioned is a challenging piece rhythmically, when we play without conductor. A piece full of contrasts; wild and crazy violin cadenzas, jazzy fragments a la Piazzolla and Stravinsky-like rhythmical parts changing the beats every bar.
This project was also a challenge for me in a different way. Seven weeks ago I was blown off my bike in Hamburg by the storm "Niklas" and broke my foot, so I came to Würzburg walking with crutches. Very tiring for the hands, especially when you play violin, so I trained every day to walk a bit longer without the crutches. On our two free mornings my MCO colleague Susanne gave Feldenkrais sessions for a group of musicians. Focused on the shoulders, back, and breathing, it helped a lot for my general well-being. Thank you, Susanne! A very important issue travelling so much as we do, carrying suitcases and playing every day (and not getting any younger...).
Thursday night we had the first rehearsal in the Kaisersaal. Overwhelmed by the beauty of Balthasar Neumann's architecture and Tiepolos frescos (all intact from 1720) the hall also has a graceful acoustic, very suited for Bach and Mozart in many ways. But Vasks actually made today's music and emotions melt together with the last 300 years of history in a beautiful and nostalgic way.
We played two concerts; the first was the opening of the Mozart Festival with invited prominent guests; many politicians, cardinals, a princess (!) and other important people from Würzburg and Bavaria. The second concert was also sold out with an attentive audience.
A memorable project with many exciting musical moments, and the project where I learned to walk again!