I think that Daytona Beach fell in love with Kristian Jarvi last night. Anyone who was at the concert we did with him in the Barbican a while ago will know what I’m talking about. The audience wasn’t quite as full as other shows here-it was a conductor they weren’t familiar with and even less well known repertoire-however people who came will go away telling there friends that they should have been there.
In the pre concert talk, Jarvi spoke passionately about music and why we should be more adventurous in our choices of repertoire. He was also very keen to discuss music education, however, when he swooped onto the stage in black with his long hair and huge smile, most of the ladies fell in love with him before he did anything! As he whipped the orchestra into a bacchanalian frenzy with more percussion latin rhythms than Lalo Schifrin, the audience went crazy. At a party afterwards, he was surrounded by people wanting to talk to him, even the men by now. I think everyone in the hall had fun last night. I think he’ll be back!
But that was last night and today we had our last concert in Daytona Beach. a little light firebird followed by Carmina Burana. It feels like every night, we have pushed the audience to its limits with the music-tonight was to be no exception.
Daniel Harding was at his expressive best in the Firebird and gave a sensational reading. The audience gave us a standing ovation-and it was only the first half! So when we came back on for Carmina, the stage was groaning with the weight of the orchestra, soloists and surely one of the best choirs I have heard, the Bach Festival Choir from Orlando. In fact the stage was so full, the children’s choir had to sit in the auditorium to sing their parts.
The house was full and on tenter hooks as Daniel raised his hands and those famous crashing chords came in. The choir sang as if their lives depended on it, they really were quite outstanding, I’m not sure what was on the pizzas they were all demolishing before the concert, but I’d like the recipe.
Carmina can go on a bit to be honest, and after the first famous chorus, you have to wait about an our until it comes back at the end. On this occasion, Dan kept the tension going all the way through, hardly pausing for breath. The soprano Malin Christensson floated effortlessly above the swaying ostinato figures and Markus Werba the baritone declaimed his parts brilliantly. However, the real stars of this show were the chorus.
As we reached the end, they seemed to lose no energy, it really did feel like a rollercoaster ride. as the trumpets blasted out the final notes and before the audience erupted, one solitary audience member summed up this performance and to be honest, the whole trip.
“Whoooooooo!” he cried, before the rest of the audience roared their approval.
What a concert and what a trip. Daytona Beach is always special and what makes it special is the welcome we receive from everybody here. The staff, the volunteers and everyone else involved make us feel so welcome and we have a great time, so it makes it easy to do great concerts. Thank you all, and we look forward to seeing all of our friends again in 2011.
Despite the joy of the concert this evening, it was with great sadness that we learned of the death of our great friend and supporter Eddie Waters.
Eddie told me once that he was a self confessed groupie of the LSO and followed us as far afield as Japan and the 2007 trip here to Daytona Beach. He was a lovely man who was also very generous, he commissioned Querk by Karl Jenkins for myself, Neil Percy and John Alley to play as part of the 2004 centenary celebrations. Wherever we were playing around the world, he would always sit, as I look out to the audience, about 3 or 4 rows back, just to the right of the conductor, usually in one of his bright red or green jackets! I shall miss the wave we gave each other as I walked on stage every night. We all will.
Rest in peace Eddie.