It’s been an eventful 72 hours. I’ll have to rely on my memory and pictures to reconstruct them for you.

I’ll break the posts, so that they become easier to open. I’m told that blog posts with too many pictures, or that are too length, do not open so quickly.

21 May 2013: Another tutti rehearsal at 11 am.

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My mind is a little blurry about the details, but we certainly work on the Dvořák symphony.

There’s a concert followed by dinner at the Park hotel, and a totally different repertoire from the Sunday concert, so some rehearsal time is devoted to that. In the above pic, you can see the all-Canadian woodwind and brass rehearse their segment of the concert, which includes a lovely Serenade Opus 7 (written when he was just 17! Why is God so spectacularly biased when He doles out talent?) by Richard Strauss.

I’ve got some videos on my Samsung phone, but very frustratingly do not have the crucial wire (or technical know-how. I’m Honorary President of Technophobic Anonymous!) to upload them here…yet. I might have to get back to Goa for that.

Anyway… here’s the string ensemble rehearsing the Mozart Divertimento KV 136:

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We break for lunch, and then a mini-bus is to take us, in turns to the Park Hotel which is ‘very close’ to Catholic Club. Perhaps as the crow flies, and in Bangalore traffic, you wish you could be a crow. But sadly we’re not, and the journeys take a lot of time before we’re all accounted for.

We’re in a reception hall with a rather dry acoustic, and one can hear the humming of the airconditioning, but as we’re all quite close to the stage area, it’s fine.

We get the ball rolling with Three Madrigals for Violin and Viola (click here for programme notes from the LA Phil site) by Bohuslav Martinů(1890-1959), played by the Canadian string faculty Mark Fewer (violin) and Neal Gripp (viola).

Neal introduces the work. There’s a direct connection for him, as he studied with violist Lillian Fuchs, who along with her perhaps more-famous brother, violinist Joseph Fuchs were the dedicatees of the work. As the programme notes will tell you, Martinů was inspired to write this composition after hearing the brother-sister duo perform the Mozart violin-viola duos.  In the course of the introduction, Neal also lets slip the bizarre fact that Martinů had among his composition students Burt Bacharach! I’ve just googled this, and Bacharach apparently also studied with Darius Milhaud! Go figure! I say this in the nicest possible way, as I’m a Bacharach fan too, and grew up listening (and listening still) to his hits. I’m sure you must be too. Who can possibly not love ‘Raindrops keep falling on my head’, or ‘they long to be close to you’, or ‘I say a little prayer’, or ‘I’ll never fall in love again’, or ‘Arthur’s theme’, or ‘That’s what friends are for’? It just seems incongruous that a composer of such popular smash hits should have had instruction from such giants of the classical music world. Perhaps there are more similarities between the two music worlds than we know, if we listen more closely.  

Anyway, back to the Martinů. I’ve purposely chosen this somewhat blurry pic because it conveys better the energy that pulsates through the work:

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There’s some virtuoso playing (and page-turning!) by both.

Then we have the performance of the Mozart Divertimento. I was up too close to get a long shot, so here’s two pics to cover the ensemble:

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Highly spirited playing here. The Indian girl in the Botticelli Venus pose at the back (and just as ravishingly beautiful!) is my friend from Goa, Maria Sancha Pereira, an extremely gifted violinist.

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Then it’s the turn of the string quartet that visited Canada last summer on the exchange programme, to play Armenian-American pianist-conductor-composer Jeff Manookian’s arrangement of the famous 1916 tango ‘La Cumparsita’. Manookian has been compared to Aram Khachaturian in Armenia, and this work arguably reflects such a comparison too. There’s the tango rhythm, of course, but if this were a painting it could be compared to a version by Picasso (or Dali?) of the dance.

Here’s Maestro Alain Trudel introducing the woodwind (with two French horns making up the brass, and a double-bass for the bass-line) ensemble:

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They play a Mozart Divertimento (hope I got that right) on their own, and a conducted by Trudel for the Strauss:

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Lastly it’s the brass section, with first the combined Indo-Canadian forces to play a series of short pieces

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And lastly a Canadian brass quintet, with I think three works all whose titles I haven’t ascertained, but the first work is by Paul Dukas (1865-1935), the second is Debussy’s ‘The Girl with the Flaxen Hair’, and the last one seems to have had a nice mariachi ring to it!

Then it’s dinner, and a sumptuous spread of Indian fare.

Like Cinderella at the ball, I have to dash in order to make my way back to my pad. It’s not easy finding a rickshaw that goes my way, and the usual ‘hostage situation’ night rate prevails

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