Another great audience turnout for the Brisbane City Pops Orchestra last Saturday in Kenmore, for our second concert together.

With Monday night being our last rehearsal for this concert series, the orchestra also had a bit of a Christmas bash, and gave me a kind token of their appreciation.

We’ll have our final concert together this Sunday in Southport, and I’ve enjoyed all three concerts, especially the Strauss and Mascagni that we’ve done with the chorus.

But for me that’s not the end of the year, as I’ll be working with the Ady Ensemble, recording Brahms’ 2nd Symphony, for what will then be my final project for the year.

It’s 2:30am and I can’t go back to sleep.
After the initial tiredness returning from a long day of travel, I find myself experiencing the quiet content that comes from a good rehearsal or, as is the case here, a great concert. I’d like to thank the Brisbane City Pops Orchestra for their playing at yesterday’s performance in Maleny, Leslie Martin for her wonderful songs, and Margaret Taylor and the delightful Maleny Singers, who joined us for Verdi’s Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves, Der Fledermaus, and Mascagni’s Easter Hymn – which as the concert’s finale resulted in the standing ovation kindly received from the audience. This was my first trip to Maleny in thirty years; I hope it won’t take quite so long again to return. Thank you 

The most civilised way to wait for a bus.
Heading up to Maleny with the Brisbane City Pops Orchestra, for our performance this afternoon with the Maleny Singers, including works of Verdi, Strauss Jnr, Tchaikovsky, and Mascagni. #conductor #conducting #brisbanecitypopsorchestra #adrianhead #malenysingers

My last rehearsal tonight before next weekend’s performance with the Brisbane City Pops Orchestra. I have to say that this one gets at me every time; right up there with Gesualdo’s calls of “salva me”. I’m so looking forward to conducting this, along with some Tchaikovsky and Der Fledermaus #conductor #conducting #orchestra #bcpo #adrianhead #tchaikovsky #straussjr #mascagni

I’ve just got home late this evening, after a rewarding rehearsal conducting the #brisbanecitypopsorchestra through Mascagni’s Easter Hymn, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, and excerpts from Der Fledermaus, to find this in my letterbox: the recording of #bernardhaitink conducting his final concert. I ordered this when he was alive; now it arrives after he has left us. His influence on my younger me to conduct was very important, & now that it has arrived, after an evening doing what I love, is particularly sad, and I’d be lying if I’d said that I haven’t shed some tears.
Thank you again, Maestro  #conductor #conducting #orchestra #adrianhead #bcpo #mascagni #easterhymn #derfledermaus #tchaikovsky #nutcrackersuite

Adieu, Maestro

It is with a very heavy heart that I have just heard of the passing of Maestro Bernard Haitink. Who only passed away yesterday, at the age of 92.

It is eerie to know that it was only yesterday that I was listening to some of his Bruckner recordings; his recording of the 7th Symphony from 1978, then going back to the 7th, 8th – and getting halfway through the 9th – from his original Bruckner cycle with the (now Royal) Concertgebouw Orchestra.

I remember the first time that I saw Bernard conduct, which was a recording of him conducting the Concertgebouw in a performance of Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony. It was from this experience, all those decades ago, that my interest in Mahler started, discovering the remaining symphonies before I had left high school. My small tale of inspiration is I’m sure only one of many, some more personally connected to him than my own.

The recording from his final public performance, where he conducted Bruckner’s 7th with the Nederlands Radio Symphony, was only released a couple of weeks ago. I ordered my copy of the recording when he was alive, and now it will arrive after he has gone. Its arrival will be almost Mahlerian, mixed with both sadness and irony. The recording will be cherished, along with the many others that I have of his.

Adieu, Maestro. You had and will continue to inspire generations of musicians and listeners. Your departure is something that will take some time to completely take in. Thank you, and may you rest peacefully 

While the Tchaikovsky 5 sight-read may have been last Sunday, it’s back to work for my other commitments. The last two days have seen me preparing and adapting works for my three performances with the Brisbane City Pops later this year. Preparations for the reboot of the Brahms Recording Project continue, as do discussions for another Ady Ensemble project next year www.adrianhead.com #conductor #conducting #orchestra #adrianhead #adyensemble #tchaikovsky #brahms #bcpo #brisbanecitypopsorchestra

Thanks to everyone who came along to participate in the Ady Ensemble’s Tchaikovsky 5th Symphony sight-reading session this afternoon. It was a pleasure making music with you. All the best. www.adrianhead.com #conductor #conducting #orchestra #adyensemble #adrianhead #tchaikovsky

It’s been a hard week, getting through marking up and copying the parts for the Ady Ensemble’s sight-reading session this weekend. After spending several days at home it was time to get out, find a cafe, and try to get a more balanced perspective on things, plus a bit more time with the score itself. www.adrianhead.com #conductor #conducting #orchestra #adyensemble #tchaikovsky #symphony #adrianhead

Coffee and Tchaikovsky parts

I’ve been marking up the parts for Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Sympony since mid-last week, for the Ady Enemble’s sight-reading afternoon this upcoming weekend. It’s always very labour intensive, but apart from doing actual score prep this is a great way to consolidate your interpretation, and to get into the minds of the players, and the composer. It’s going to be a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to seeing the players, some of whom I haven’t seen since the start of the pandemic. www.adrianhead.com #conductor #conducting #orchestra #tchaikovsky #symphony #adyensemble