Meckpomm Snaps

Posted on Sunday, August 07, 2011

The premiere of The Given Note took place in the small town of Loitz, three hours north of Berlin in the former DDR. The venue was a charming and characterful old ballroom and we were told this was the first concert to have been given there in recent times. It was slightly disconcerting to arrive in a typical small town street, and be told 'this is the venue'. But through the fairly unasuming front door and up some old wooden stairs and you found yourself in an atmospheric old dance hall, the sound of long-lost dance bands lingering in the air.

Despite the off-the-beaten track location, the venue was packed with several hundred people and what seemed to be a mixture of locals, including a lot of youngsters - as well as people from further afield. The venues in the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern are scattered throughout this vast region, and I was amazed to hear that people travel regularly from Berlin and Hamburg to hear festival concerts, even if it means a five or six hour round-trip. Although perhaps not so amazing when you flick through the festival brochure and read an amazing line-up of internationally renowned stars like Martha Argerich or David Finckel who attend.

This was Daniel Hope's first year as Artistic Director of the festival (he had previously run the chamber series) so it was a special privilege to have him join us and bring his superb artistry to bear on the first outing of my piece. Indeed it would be hard to better the performance, with David Orlowsky and his trio forming the rock solid core of the ensemble, and the brilliantly maverick Vincent Segal on Cello. David himself brings an incredible expressivity and rich warm tone to his performance. Having started out in klezmer music, he is now equally at home in the classical world; and the combination of those folk-musician instincts with the technical chops to handle my sometimes fiendish writing, made him a perfect match for my music. I hope I can work with him a lot more in the future.

Here are a few snaps from this great adventure:

Rehearsals start in earnest



With Daniel Hope and David Orlowsky



Vincent Segal



Tuning up just before the premier







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