Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Hop 'n drop to Perugia

Thu 28 May 2009

One Concert in the Life of a Touring Musician

So – how have we weathered these last eleven days?

To summarise: four concerts in three venues: Kings Place, the Queen Elizabeth Hall and St. George’s Bristol; three days of ‘Giulio Cesare’ at Glyndebourne; two days of rehearsals at Maida Vale studios, rounded off with a one-night dash to Perugia. Perhaps the deafening silence during the four-hour coach journey from Perugia back to Bologna airport on Monday morning speaks for itself.

The Italian bit began on Sunday with an alarm call at 5.30 a.m. in a hotel near Gatwick. Those awake enough to think of it, boarded the airport bus last in order to get to the check-in desk first, ahead of the double basses, timps and cellos. For, without such tactics, the best-laid plans for a leisurely breakfast and a strong cup of coffee, prior to take off, can fade slowly into a distant dream as time drips by in the first of the interminable queuing procedures that are the hallmark and curse of air travel. Even getting through security can induce moments of character-building restraint. For, on various memorable occasions in the past, instrumentalists have been ordered to hand over tuning forks, hundreds of pounds worth of spare strings and vital, expensive reed-making knives and pliers – packed into suitcases nowadays. As musicians, possibly the most profound question to be asked during the whole tedious business is: “Any sharp instruments in your hand luggage?”

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