There isn’t a much bigger test of sheer stamina and concentration than Meistersinger. I’ve got a big problem with it. It simply doesn’t do it for me. But if I’m going to have a bit of a nark about Wagner, you need to be re-assured that I haven’t forgotten my place in life. Ant snarling at elephant. I have no delusions. Rank and file, below stairs, humbler than Uriah Heep. There’s nothing I can do that will harm Wagner’s music or folks love for it. (Cellist Anthony Sayer)
Musicians often dream about strange things happening on stage. I was talking to Etienne last week and he told me about a couple of recurring dreams he has. During the first, which I’ve heard from other brass players, his teeth fall out just before the first downbeat and he is unable to produce a note! In another he is stood at the front of the orchestra ready to perform a Mozart Horn Concerto; as soon as he begins to play, he realises that he has no idea how to produce a sound, it is as if he has gone back to the age of 8 and taking his first ever lesson! I wondered if it was just brass players who have these dreams and asked a few string-players. My favourite reply was from Harry (Harris, cello) who once dreamt that he was playing Overture to Marriage of Figaro, and not at all put off by the fact that his cello had been replaced by a bowl of fruit salad! Scary stuff, and proof that performers cannot escape their instruments and all the mental aspects of performance, even in their sub-conscious. (Trumpeter Mark Allen)
We came back from the first Prom trip to find ourselves in deep gloss all over the cover of the new BBC Scotland Annual Report (that’s the annual “Look how well we’ve all done, and how much better we are going to do” book). Now what’s amazing about that, to Jurassic period players like me, is that when I joined the BBC the only chance we had of hearing ourselves being talked about was when they were having another go at getting rid of us. (Mr. Sayer again)
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Johannes Brahms: Symphony 1, Karajan, Berliner Philharmoniker.
Miles Davis All-Stars: Walkin'.
Karl Henning: Evening Service (2006).