<< -- 3 -- Jennifer Paull REMINISCENT RETROSPECTIVES
Could things get any worse? Of course they could! My worst nightmares
will forever remain two Promenade concerts at the Royal Albert Hall. The
phone rang and the BBC Symphony Orchestra's office told me to get to
the RAH prontissimo. The dress rehearsal was in progress and oboe
number two had been taken ill, suddenly. 'What is the programme?' I inquired.
'Till Eulenspiegel, Richard Strauss'. Gulp; somehow I had never played
this symphonic poem, although the rest of the programme was familiar. 'Never
mind', I assured myself, 'if I grab a cab I'll be there in time for
the run through scheduled for the second half of the rehearsal'. I'd
have the afternoon to look it over again before the live broadcast that
evening. Of course, it was pouring with rain; there was not a cab in sight!
I dashed onto the stage, rain-soaked, reed in mouth to save time warming
up, just as Norman del Mar walked onto the rostrum after the break. 'I don't
feel like doing this. We all know the piece! See you tonight, everybody!'
Thunderous applause from all sides, or was that sound my knees knocking?
Of course I played it through at home, but performing it for the first time
with the BBC Symphony Orchestra during a live broadcast was another one
of those tattoos one can never erase. Remaining visibly unruffled and thereby
keeping up the pretences that this was something in, as opposed to out of
the ordinary, was another.
The second nightmare was The Rite of Spring under Pierre Boulez,
again with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, broadcast live from the Proms in
the same setting.
Copyright © 18 January 2002
Jennifer Paull, Vouvry, Switzerland
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