On 29 January 2011, the London Sinfonietta performed for the first time in the Palace of Arts in Budapest. Included in the programme was Living Toys by Thomas Adès, which has a particularly interesting part for trumpet.
Alistair Mackie, Principal trumpet of the London Sinfonietta, explains how the nerves kick in as the rehearsals begin:
Wed 26th Jan.
The first rehearsal for the Adès has just finished and I’m now sat in my second rehearsal of the day-Bartok’s 1st piano concerto with the Philharmonia, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Yefim Bronfman. I feel shattered and unable to concentrate. All my confidence disappeared during the first Adès run through, when I began to understand the enormous challenges of fitting my part together with the rest of the group. For example, there is one extended solo passage where the group and conductor play in bars divided by three while the trumpet plays in bars divided by four. At the end of the passage I was a full two bars adrift. The rehearsal was good though and by the end a lot had been achieved and my confidence was partially restored. I can’t make the next rehearsal because of my Philharmonia commitments so that’s it till Budapest now. Yikes!
Friday 28th Jan.
The group has left for Budapest this evening. Three of us- Mark van de Wiel (clarinet), Byron Fulcher (trombone) and myself are committed to the Bartok series the Philharmonia is running at the moment so tonight we were repeating our Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall concert from last night in Basingstoke. It was a hard concert and I found it particularly difficult, partly because my mind was very much on the challenges of tomorrow-travel/rehearsal/concert, and partly because I had, today, to endure the yearly torture of finalising my accounts with my accountant. It took most of the morning and I was too tired to focus after a late dinner with sponsors after last night’s concert. The taxi is ordered for 5am tomorrow and I’m going try to make the most of another short night’s sleep. I’m feeling envious of my colleagues who I’m sure will now be finishing a splendid meal in a good Budapest restaurant before heading to bed for a good night’s sleep. I look forward to their smug humour when we arrive tomorrow.
To be continued…