I could find no glamour in running for a train at 5.45am and catching it by the skin of my teeth, arriving at Stansted at 7.30am, landing in Madrid and going straight to the hall to rehearse in the knowledge that the concert later on in the day wouldn’t finish until 12.40am. If there was any glamour, it passed me by somewhere on the duty free trolley. I was asleep. The advantage of the late concert in Madrid (kick off 22.30) is that you can have dinner before the show in comfort. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know that as well as missing the glamour, I also miss my family, an occupational hazard you would say but one which, despite doing this for 17 years, I just don’t get used to. So it has been a rather nice couple of days for me, as waiting for me at the hotel for dinner before the show was my little brother. Brotherly love doesn’t quite extend to flying out specially to keep me company; he is in fact playing in the second of the two concerts. If you look at the concert we played in Madrid and on Thursday in the Barbican you will find some Kurt Weill in the programme – not a regular visitor in these parts but welcome all the same. This is the piece he has come to play.
Although we grew up playing together, I went into the orchestral world whereas my brother Huw went into the far more sensible and lucrative world of electric guitars, touring and generally being more cool and hip than me, working with assorted rock gods, taking private jets, appearing on Top of the Pops and other cool things that I like to boast about at parties. So to punish him I have made him wear tails and play the banjo in the LSO.
I introduced him to MTT.
“Great nice to meet you! Now you are amplified for the guitar right?”
“Yes that’s right.”
“And will the banjo be amplified?”
“Er no…you really don’t want that…”
He wasn’t joking, it’s really loud, and all of a sudden the orchestra is transported into pre-war Berlin with a touch of George Formby thrown in. (And for the pedants, please don’t write in to tell me Mr Formby didn’t play the banjo. I know.)
So I’m afraid because of my brother’s arrival, we find ourselves in the first half of the concert and consequently the blog is short. No bad thing though. So although I miss my family, I have some of it here, and our mum and dad will be cheering loudly at the Barbican on Thursday when we return. Tomorrow we go to Valencia, the home town of our guest principal oboe. He is taking us out for Paella and then I imagine he will get a hero’s reception at the end of the concert. But for now, I’ve got a few things to show my brother in Madrid.