December 1, 2007 leonard slatkin

Another whirlwind month has come to a close. There are times when I am not sure that it is possible to keep up with the calendar. And traveling these days is certainly not one of life’s greatest pleasures.

The first two weeks of November were spent with the Royal Philharmonic. For the first time in my career, I did a concert at Albert Hall in London which was not a Prom. To fill the 5,000+ seating area, the programs have to be more popular than usual. In this case, Holst’s Planets paired with Walton’s Belshazzar. The concert was recorded and is available on iTunes.

After a performance in the “unofficial” home of the orchestra, Cadogan Hall, we traveled to three cities in the former Soviet block. British orchestras do not adhere to the regulations that govern their American colleagues, so we left at 8:00 am in the morning for the flight to Belgrade. There was a three-hour rehearsal and then the performance that night. The next two days were similar, with concerts in Zagreb and Budapest. The latter has a particularly fine new concert hall.

Then it was off to Paris. The orchestra that I conduct in that city is one of two that are part of French Radio, so in some respects, they are less concerned with the actual numbers of audience members than the people listening from home or car. This makes it possible to do some unusual programs. Pairing Copland’s Appalachian Spring with Britten’s Spring Symphony was a nice idea. And the orchestra got into the distinctly American idiom quite well.

Next came the long trip to San Francisco. For the Thanksgiving week, we had a relatively conservative—by SF standards—program of Haydn, Barber and Elgar. Garrick Ohlssohn performed the great Piano Concerto that came in the middle. This was the first time that I had done the work since the death of John Browning, for whom the piece was written, so there was obviously more than the usual emotion at play. The orchestra was a pleasure to work with, and I think everyone enjoyed the week.

To round out the month, it was back to Nashville, with an overnight stop in DC. I may not have left my heart in San Francisco, but it is possible that I did leave a piece of luggage. Or at least that is one theory as to why it still has not shown up at this point. Fortunately, that bag just contained clothes and not music. In Music City, we are performing and recording A Dylan Thomas Trilogy, by John Corigliano. He turns 70 in a couple months. Why does he still look like he is 30?

There is a little down time in December, but still some interesting concerts to do, not the least important is the premiere of a couple arrangements of Christmas carols written for my son.

See you in the New Year!

Leonard Slatkin