So what better way to finish off a world tour than two nights in Paris. The embers of the tour began with a train journey from Cologne which was beautiful – well the bits I saw when I wasn’t asleep were anyway. It was very quiet indeed, a measure of just how tired we all are – even Sue didn’t bother us with her clipboard and blackberry thing. Still, we needed our rest as we only had time for a quick lunch before a three hour rehearsal at the Salle Pleyel. A very short hour’s break and we launched into the concert. Once again, despite not being very well, Valery threw himself in to the show and we had to play two encores. The Paris audience were very enthusiastic despite it being quite a challenging programme of No 3, No 4 and the third piano concerto with the wonderful Lang Lang. I listened to his rehearsal as I wasn’t in the piece, and he was so great to listen to and watch. He really responds to the orchestra and has a fantastically delicate touch when needed.
Yesterday was the final day and for the first time in weeks, none of us had to set the alarm clock. I still woke up early and headed out for a wander and a coffee with friends which turned, inevitably, into lunch. All of a sudden it was time to go to work.
I actually felt quite emotional when we got there. I don’t know quite how we have managed it, playing all this Prokofiev, but it shows how great the music and the performances are when I tell you that I haven’t been bored once. We played the fifth symphony for the last time last night and yet again, Valery was picking out different lines that I hadn’t heard before. He had to balance the orchestra differently to our roof raising performance in NYC as the hall in Paris simply can’t take it. But what a performance. We only had the energy to play one encore and then with the cheering still ringing in our ears, we went downstairs to have a beer.
It’s been astonishing, through this world tour, I have now got a new second flute, I have blogged thousands of words and I have broken the sound barrier several times in the Classical symphony – but I’m glad to be on the train home.
We have played 16 pieces, 41 concerts, 120 players, 14 countries.
But only one conductor.