Today (Tue 10 Feb) I'm sitting in the balcony thinking about love...or rather, the relationship between love and music!
One of my favourite Shakespeare quotes is from Much Ado About Nothing, when Benedick says to no-one in particular: "Is it not strange that sheeps' guts should hale souls out of men’s bodies?" And I quite agree...Strings on musical instruments are not generally made from sheeps' guts these days, but there is simply something about music that can speak straight to the soul. There is certain music which can pull on your heart-strings before your ears really have the chance to listen to it, and this rehearsal that I'm currently enjoying is packed full of it.
This week, the Orchestra is going to be performing some wonderfully passionate music in our special Valentine's concert, Latin Passion. But there's very little slushy romantic sentimentalism here; instead this concert is packed with pulsing, swaying rhythms of Chabrier's Habañera, fiery passion in De Falla's El sombrero de tres picos...It's such an inspiring programme!
This concert is not just featuring classical music though. This year we're also having a foray into the world of love themes from the movies: John Williams' soaring Love Theme from Superman, Morricone's heart-breaking theme Gabriel's Oboe from The Mission (featuring our wonderful new Principal Oboe, Adrian Wilson), and Barry's timeless Theme from Out of Africa.
Our conductor this week is our fabulous French-Canadian Assistant Conductor Jean-Claude Picard. Jean-Claude has been with the Orchestra since June 2013 and his rapport with the musicians is clear to see. I caught up with Jean-Claude after the rehearsal:
"We just had our first rehearsal this morning for this weekend's concerts and it's quite obvious to me and the musicians that this programme is very seductive. I can't wait to share the passion of the music with our audiences in Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow!"
Our soloist this week is harpist Xavier de Maistre. He'll be performing Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez, a piece more commonly associated with the guitar, but the arrangement for harp is quite something. We came across a video of him performing it with Kristjan Järvi and the Orchestre de Paris, so here it is as a little something to whet your appetite... (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__Iu98UdouU)
The RSNO's Latin Passion concert will take place in Dundee's Caird Hall on Thursday 12 February, The Usher Hall in Edinburgh on Friday 13 February and the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Saturday 14 February. Tickets are still available for all performances, priced from just £12.50. Visit www.rsno.org.uk/valentines to book.
Until the next time...