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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Off to Sweden again!

I'll be back in Sweden again (leaving January 1), my trip this time split in two this year, the first from early January to mid-February (when I head to Edmonton to prepare my February concert, and then the Good Friday concert), then back again for my second stint from late March through mid-May.

I was invited by the Radio Choir to prepare works again for other conductors, but also to conduct their Spring Concert, which is a lighter program, shared with a well-known Swedish jazz duo (Chapter 2 - trombone and guitar). We're still working out repertoire for that, but the choir will sing about 35 minutes of music. The preps, however, are substantial, so I have a lot of work to do learning scores!

Peter Dijkstra, new Chief Conductor of Radiokören, will have a concert January 17, so I'll be able to watch all his rehearsals for this program, with a chamber orchestra and repertoire of Mozart Litanae Lauretanae and Haydn Harmoniemesse. It'll be great to be able to meet him and particularly to watch him work. If you don't know about him, check out his website--his career is going spectacularly well and the repertoire he's conducting is amazing! (

During the week of January 21st, I prepare RK for a program that they will doing jointly with the Latvian Radio Choir and their conductor, Kaspars Putnins (the concert doesn't take place until March 16). Pro Coro members know from the festival in Toronto just how good the Latvian group is--and Kaspars is terrific. For this I'll be preparing Pizzetti's Requiem (a great piece), Penderecki's Stabat Mater and Agnus Dei, and Arvo Pärt's The Beatitudes.

The following week begins with two rehearsals on Bach's Matthew Passion, which the choir will do March 20 and 21 with Daniel Harding (note that they're doing this just four days after the concert with the Latvians!). Harding is the principal conductor of the Radio Orchestra (you can read my description of his performance of the Schumann Paradies und die Peri elsewhere on the blog--he's amazing). RK has only 3 rehearsals before meeting with Harding, so my 2 will have to take them through the whole work.

The 3rd and 4th rehearsals that week will be Rachmaninov's The Bells and numbers 1 & 3 of his Three Russian Songs (op. 41), to be done the 16th of February with Jukka-Pekka Sarasate (who did the unbelievably good performance of Sibelius' Kullervo last time with Orphei Drängar and the Stockholm Philharmonic). This is just 2 days after they will have done the Rachmaninov Vigil with Risto Joost from Estonia. The score they sent for The Bells has only Cyrillic, so in all ways I have my work cut out for me! The performance with Jukka-Pekka will also have the Eric Ericson Chamber Choir, but I'll only be rehearsing RK in January.

Unfortunately I'll be gone before all of the performances. Too bad not to hear the fruits of my labors directly, but I have other work with Pro Coro that I'm looking forward to as well!

I should also be able to observe a few of Joost's rehearsals on Rachmaninov before leaving for Edmonton.

I'll get back to Stockholm and begin work during the first week in April on the Verdi Four Sacred Pieces, which they're doing with Peter Dijkstra along with the Netherlands Chamber Choir and Rezidentie Orchestra at The Hague in May. I'll also do more work on the Pizzetti Requiem, which Peter's doing with them (on their own), also at The Hague. In addition, I rehearse them on music for their domestic tour, which will include Lars Johan Werle's trees (which Choral Arts members will remember), Sven-David Sandström's April och Tystnad and Bo Holten's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (30-minute set for 12-part choir--some Choral Arts members will remember Holten's Regn och Rusk och Rosenbusk). Somewhere in there I also introduce the music for the Spring concert!

I have a little break until the week of April 21 when rehearsals begin in earnest for the Spring concert (and Kathryn and I will visit her sister and family in Kristiansand, Norway during that time). Nothing the next week (the choir is doing Larsson's Förklädd Gud), then two more rehearsals the following week before the concert on May 9 (in between the last two rehearsals I do a rehearsal on Brahms Requiem for a later tour with Valeri Gergiev and the Rotterdam Philharmonic--expanded RK of about 48 voices). The week after the Spring concert I do one more rehearsal on Verdi Quattro Pezzi and the Pizzetti Requiem before they head to Holland with Peter.

All in all, an interesting January-mid May!

I'll be blogging about what I see and hear.

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