Friday, November 02, 2007

Ashkenazy does Rachmaninov

It was one of those mornings - missed my first train, rushing to make my next connection spilled coffee all over my groin, spent 15 mins cleaning up so I didn't look like I had wet myself in all the excitement and finally staggered into the Concert Hall Lighting Control Room only half an hour late.

I had been called in to cover the final rehearsal of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra's performance of the Rachmaninov’s Festival and it was so totally worth the bad start to the day.

Conductor: Vladimir Ashkenazy,
Pianist: Cristina Ortiz,
Avid Listener: Me.

I love doing final rehearsals because I can open the windows wide and listen to the true sound of the full orchestra. Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto is one of those pieces that I hear and know but couldn't put a name too. It has a beautiful sweeping movement that reminds me of Lawrence of Arabia and epic journeys, as well as some poignant clarinet that is eminently swoon material.

From my window, high up in the auditorium, the infamous acoustics of the Hall sound just right. There was no artificial amplification (nasty Line Array) to muddy the pure orchestral sound.
It was a pleasure to listen and watch as Ashkenazy created magic. Tonight I go on to the 'joys' of Don's Party (only 2 more to go) but at least I had a few hours bliss.

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