Tuesday 9 August 2005

Strasbourg Diary (1)

We chose to drive to Strasbourg, so though were were away for over 4 days, half of this was spent speeding across England and France, listening to CD’s in the car (a 30 year old Alfa Sud). There’s too much background noise to hear music properly but it gives you a good opportunity to re-acquaint yourself with old favourites. 2 discs stand out, David Wulfstan’s astonishing version of Spem in Alium, transposed up so that the 1st soprano part is in the stratosphere and Kent Nagano’s account of the first version of Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, complete with spoken text and all of the music for the play. Sumi Jo plays Zerbinetta and in this version the role is even more difficult than in the revised version, Jo copes with great aplomb and style.

Being as the trip to Strasbourg was a choral trip (with my regular choir, London Concord Singers), there was much eating and drinking involved. We spent Friday evening in conviviality with the rest of the choir, sitting by the river under a huge tree, drinking local wine.

Saturday was spent exploring Strasbourg, I’d been before so we did things like visiting the flea market (none of the fleas appealed) and looking at the astrological clock.

Rehearsal was at 6pm, but seemed to clash with a rehearsal for a Christening (I didn’t know you had to rehearse christenings, we didn’t do so in my day). Still, St. Thomas’s Church (Protestant) is a lovely space and the resonant acoustic was very generous. Though slightly smaller than the group who gave the programme at our London concert, we managed a fine account of the programme (Harant, Rihards Dubra, Saint-Saens, Schicht, Vagn Holmboe, Kodaly, Gorecki, Bruckner, Marenzio). The church was full (we handed out over 150 programmes) and the audience very appreciative, particularly of the French pieces. Needless to say we all ended up sitting under a tree (a different one to Friday), by the river drinking local wine and eating croque monsieur.

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