“Do you really want to know?” This was RSNO Principal Double Bass Ana Cordova’s response to Classic FM’s Anne-Marie Minhall when she asked what drew her to her instrument. Anne-Marie was in conversation with Ana, Music Director Peter Oundjian, and Principal Oboe Adrian Wilson as part of the RSNO 2015:16 Season launch at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Wednesday. It was very exciting to be among over 200 RSNO subscribers invited to find out what we can expect from the RSNO’s 125th Anniversary celebrations.
We really did want to know, so Ana went on to explain that in school she was hyperactive and her doctors sent her to obligatory after school ‘activity’ classes. During this time she tried the piano and trumpet with little success before her mother suggested learning violin. Naturally, she rebelled and chose double bass instead. She found she loved it and the rest is history.
Watching Ana perform Gaspar Cassadó’s Requiebros, loosely translated as ‘a chat up line’, was truly mesmerizing. Having never heard the double bass performed as a solo instrument before, I was fascinated to see Ana make an instrument, normally praised for its low, powerful rumblings, sound playful, intricate and coy. She introduced the piece by saying, “I hope this gives you a little taste of the spicy flavour to the Spanish way of life.” She certainly did.
It is the opportunity to get a little closer to RSNO musicians that make these events so special and Principal Oboe Adrian Wilson had an equally interesting story to tell about how he came to his instrument:
“I started playing recorder at school. My recorder teacher told me he could see me playing the oboe. I had no idea what an oboe was but he got me one. He told me ‘I can’t teach you but I think you should try to play it.’ The strange thing is, he died a week later and I often wonder what would have been if he had never mentioned it. I might still not know what an oboe is.”
And thank goodness he does. Adrian played the Sonata for Piano and Oboe by Francis Poulenc dedicated to the memory of his great friend Serge Prokofiev. He captured Poulenc’s grieving process beautifully from the affectionate memory of friendship, to anger at its loss, before quiet acceptance.
And that was just the music! The rest of the evening was made up of short speeches made by Acting Chief Executive, Kenneth Osborne, and RSNO Executive Producer Manus Carey. I was very interested to hear Manus explain his motives for programming the 2015:16 Season; the first of a two-season 125th anniversary celebration. It will be a programme to celebrate the RSNO’s rich heritage, and to take the RSNO forward as they move into their new home.
Of particular note, was the announcement that former Music Directors Stéphane Denève, Alexander Lazarev will return to the RSNO with a programme from their respective home countries, France and Russia. Two concerts I will be sure not to miss!
Excitement over the potential of the new home was clear throughout the evening with Peter Oundjian imaging what the RSNO will do with the new space and Manus giving us a sneak peek into some of the initiatives that will be run there. I look forward to attending the ‘Under the skin of’ initiatives which will be an opportunity to learn more about the composers Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky in a more intimate setting.
However, perhaps the most inspiring thing I took away from the evening was realising how important our subscribers, donors and partners are to us. I came to better understand that without them our work wouldn’t continue. The RSNO is much more than the musicians sitting on the stage; it is a community of people who love music. What an evening!