18 June, 2010
I arrived in Liege after having spent a number of days at home. Whilst there we were very busy with things that are not necessarily of a musical nature. In fact I am having to liaise with architects, carpenters, builders and much more. You guessed it, we are in the middle of refurbishing our house and it is quite a task.
I have an interesting week here in Liege since I am doing a organ recital, piano recital and conducting an orchestral concert. I arrived in Liege not really knowing what to expect since in the past I have only been here on fleeting visits. The orchestral rehearsal period is very short and the managers also had to make time for me to practise in the hall. So I am sure that it must have been very difficult for them to schedule all these various rehearsals in for me. It has worked out fine and all is going very smoothly. The organ recital was very well received. I played pieces by Jongen and Franck who were born in Liege and it was interesting playing works of these composers in their home town. As always I finish my organ recitals with an improvisation so this time I asked the audience to give me ideas of pieces on which I could improvise on. There were several suggestions amongst them "The Simpsons!" Anyhow, I chose "O Sole Mio" (which was interesting since I had never improvised in concert on this theme), "Summertime" (which is an all-time favourite amongst audiences) and Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. It was an interesting combination indeed! I found that intertwining these themes together and deconstructing them was the most fun part of the evening. In the meantime I have started working with the Orchestra. I was so very pleasantly surprised to find that the orchestra is made up of so many young members. The sound that they produces is fantastic and during rehearsls they are giving their 100% attention. They are very concerned about each bar and each phrase and this shows in their music playing. I know that our rehearsal schedule is very tight but I am sure that the concert on Saturday will be a great success.