Farewell China

Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Taipei

Just North of Hong Kong, and a handy stop over for the LSO’s next concert of the tour, Guangzhou is a bustling, steamy city, with much in the way of colonial architecture, and huge shopping centres. We go for Italian food, in a nearby restaurant that’s been recommended by our hotel.

Tonight’s concert is the last of the tour of China, and of the Rolls-Royce sponsorship, as tomorrow we are off to Hong Kong, where the concerts are sponsored by UBS. The concert itself is notable for the audience participation, in the form of someone’s instant replay of the end of the second movement of the Berlioz, before the reverberations had had time to fade, presumably on their camcorder. Later on, in the slow movement, (and bear in mind the pastoral nature of this), a mobile phone gives us some sort of woodland bird-song!  Horn player, Angela Barnes says it sounds like her washing machine coming to the end of its spin cycle….it’s difficult not to corpse sometimes.

After the concert, by way of a celebration, Rolls-Royce has thrown a magnificent party on board a boat which takes us on a steady trip up and down the river. It is lit with yellow lanterns, and there’s fabulous finger food, and speeches are made, and it’s congratulations all round. In fact, it’s sad to leave, as the boat pulls in to the pier. But, lovely though it is, many of us are starving after a long evening, and all the calories burnt in the concert, and the only place open this late is the McD’s next to the hotel. So that about does the trick.

Hong Kong is a breathtaking place, day and night, and, though it’s wet when we arrive, it’s slightly humid, so wandering the streets feels breezy and warm. Where we stay is basically a huge shopping centre, and the idea of going to buy a razor fills me with dread, because I’ve been completely lost in there before, with far less specific things on the agenda. There are just so many floors of shops. I just hope I can get away with my unshaven look for tonight’s reception, again at the swanky China Club, over at the Mandarin hotel. This is fun to get to because you can get the ferry across the harbour. But most of us go by bus, hoping to do the boat later, on the way back. It’s a fantastic evening, with so many dishes, including Peking Duck, which seems to be a favourite with most people. Later in the evening, David Tang himself gets on the piano to play.

The next day is free, until the rehearsal and concert, so I hop over the harbour to Hong Kong island to meet a friend who lives there, and wants to show me around a bit. I spend a brilliant afternoon among the hundreds of restaurants and street markets, marvelling at the vibe of the place. We end up at Victoria Peak, which is the top of the mountain, basically, and has the kind of view a camera can’t really capture. Nonetheless, it’s there in the slideshow, to give you an idea.

At the time of my writing I’m looking at the tallest building in the world, from my hotel room in Taipei, where we arrived this afternoon, after another early start. I’ve spent the afternoon wandering round the electronic markets looking for bargains. I’m now taking full advantage of the lack of a concert this evening, by staying in, and having an early one.


About LSO

The London Symphony Orchestra is one of the world's top orchestras. Our home is at the Barbican Centre in the City of London where we play over 80 concerts every year, but we also spend quite a bit of time out on the road, touring all over the world. Recently we have toured to Germany, France, Russia, New York, Japan, Holland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland and Lithuania; and coming up this year are China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan, Hong Kong, Spain, Portugal, Florida, Romania and a return visit to New York, where we are resident at the Lincoln Center.
This entry was posted in Far East April & May 2007, Tom Norris. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Farewell China

  1. MaryChang says:

    dear Members of LSO:
    I am Taiwan’s lover of music who these two days all listen respectfully you in Taipei’s performance. Because I am unable to conceal the innermost feelings and the excited sentiment, I accesses the net to leave my message in such a tranquil night.
    Please forgive me for my poor English expression, I just want to say that thank you to give me the wonderful nights. It’s really the life-enhancing happy experience!
    These two days I all enjoy your performance in the outdoors with people with great enthusiasm like me. Although rained drench, everybody was actually absorbed in your consummate interpretation.
    I was blessed with autograph of the conductor and four melodists at last. Hope for your arrival next time!

  2. lsoontour says:

    Dear Mary
    Thank you very much for your comments, and your enthusiastic sentiments! We had a wonderful time in Taipei, and found the people there extremely warm and we felt very welcome.
    Best wishes
    Tom Norris
    Violinist, LSO

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