Saint-Saens’s Organ Symphony

Babe-The-Sheep-Pig-Landscape-image.jpgAnother programme note – I just played this piece with an amateur orchestra and, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to it. But by the time it came to concert day it was a really exhilarating piece to play and I really enjoyed putting together the programme note for this one (and reliving some childhood memories!) Continue reading

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Vienna’s Musikverein

IMG_4967In my teens and twenties, you would know exactly where to find me every 1st January – in front of the TV watching the New Year’s concert from the Musikverein in Vienna. My family would always get together on the first day of the year (whatever our post-New-Year state) to toast the new year, have a roast dinner, and most certainly not do any laundry (I think it’s bad luck?) My grandad loved to watch the concert, and as the musical grandchild (one sister is a wordsmith, the other an artist), I was the one to sit and watch it with him. Although hours of Strauss waltzes isn’t the sort of thing I’d choose to listen to, it was nice to watch it with him and it became something of a tradition. Continue reading

Birmingham Symphony Hall

Symphony-Hall-credit-Craig-Holmes-med-res-23ch1111-216.jpgAt the end of my first year exams at uni I treated myself to a ticket to see Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto at Birmingham Symphony Hall (the treat was the time, not the money. It wasn’t very expensive at all – £4). And I completely fell in love with the place. I went straight to the info desk and asked how I could get a job there.  Continue reading

Swan Lake, Shostakovich and the Soviets

IMG_5826.JPG2017 is a pretty big year. Both me and Russia are marking big anniversaries. I celebrated a significant birthday, and Russia marked the centenary of the 1917 Revolution. So, you know, basically the same. I decided, ‘why not “celebrate” both’?! St Petersburg and Moscow were both places I’ve always wanted to visit, but they’re both a little more special (and distant) than a typical European city break / weekend-away, so it seemed ideal to combine the two anniversaries!

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Musical mooch in Moscow

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I’ve just got back from Russia and had the absolute best time. I can’t recommend the place enough – both St Petersburg and Moscow are drenched in music and history, and you can hardly walk down a street without seeing a plaque with a famous name on it (particularly Lenin’s).

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Lenin woz here

There are numerous individual musical locations I’m going to talk about later, but I thought I’d start off with a musical mooch I took, taking in a few locations within a 30 minute walk in the centre of Moscow. Continue reading

Mozart Marionettes

img_72511.jpgThe problem with having a summer birthday means birthday-trips come at a time when lots of concert halls and opera houses are closed for the summer (except the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, where top classes performances carry on through the summer. And let’s not forget the BBC Proms). We had this problem last year with a double-birthday trip to Vienna – early July seems to offer only naff Mozartian-costumed orchestras and morning organ recitals. Nein, danke. Continue reading