Wednesday, October 9, 2013

From the solitary north to the gateway to the east

Eubo came together last Thursday to rehearse our fourth program, The Dresden Network. Five days and six nights of rehearsing with our guest conductor Gottfried von der Goltz at Kloster Michaelstein, near Blankenburg, and we're on fire.

Last night we performed our first concert in the old dining hall of the Kloster. The building has been converted to house a musical instrument museum and there are plenty of instruments kept in working condition. One square piano caught my eye - a 1785 Christopher Ganer instrument built in London. The instrument looks almost identical to the 1777 Frederick Beck square piano that I helped to have restored in Ottawa a few years ago. Hearing Marianna playing an instrument in such immaculate condition, I now understand what the instrument would have sounded like when it was built. 

We're still wondering about that one.

Being in a relatively isolated place, the orchestra had plenty of time to focus on the music. With breaks for coffee and lunch, we worked from 10:00 until 18:30, Friday to Monday, and took the morning off before Tuesday's concert. While we took our meals at the on-site restaurant, the evenings were spent frequenting "Paul's Bar", where there was a selection of the cheapest wines and beers Blankenburg had to offer as well as the infamous ping pong table to keep us entertained. Other free moments were spent taking in the view of the, now colourful, forest as well as picking apples, walnuts, and pears from the trees. We even were greeted by the local toad, whom Roldán nicknamed "Kloisty".

Kloisty died.
Our first concert was a breath of fresh air. Though we were working on entirely new material, unlike our last two programs, it only took a few days for us to prepare it. It seems, like so many things, time has matured us all on its own. Our awareness, blend, and flexibility of expression continues to improve in leaps and bounds with every tour.

I write to you now on the plane to Istanbul where we will perform tomorrow evening at the local Bach festival. Apparently we will be staying in a five star hotel that has a jacuzzi on the rooftop terrace! I'm sure you'll see a photo or two of us looking like A-listers at some point.

Ah, memories.

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