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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Back in Sweden – 29 March 2008

Well, I’m back!

Wednesday, after several meetings Mireille Rijavec took me to the airport for a 9:20 PM flight to London (Heathrow) and then on to Stockholm. I don’t know that I’d do a flight at that time again, if I can avoid it—I don’t sleep well on planes, so it essentially meant a night with very little sleep. The flight itself was fairly smooth, I didn’t have to change terminals at Heathrow (it’s still an ugly and confusing place, luckily not a long layover), and I got into Stockholm on time Thursday evening. After collecting luggage, it was around 6 PM when I got a taxi into town. The sun was about to set on a gorgeous day, a fair change from when I was in Stockholm last on Feb. 9 and it got dark just a bit earlier!

I got settled and to sleep around 10:30 PM and awoke promptly at 3:30 in the morning. Puttered around, did email and a little score study, then got another hour and a half of sleep before finally getting going. Friday was a day of errands: laundry (pretty much all my clothes were dirty after two weeks in Edmonton), shopping for food and a few other essentials, and walking a bit in the beautiful sunshine (temps around 5 Celsius or 42 Fahrenheit) to get acclimated to the new time zone—still feeling jet-lagged.

Saturday I awoke at 6:30 after getting to bed at 12:30, again puttered around for awhile, but this time went back to bed and crashed, not getting up (other than waking up several times and going right back to sleep) until 1 PM. I hope I’m caught up on sleep now!

Gary Graden had a concert at St. Jacobs at 3, so I made it there to hear part of the Rachmaninov Vigil, along with organ and piano improvisations by Mattias Wager. Gary opened with the first two movements from the side of the church, followed by an organ improvisation, during which the choir moved to the center. Each of the pieces following had either an organ or piano improvisation in between them (Mattias moved to the front of the church in the middle to do piano improvs, then back to the loft for the last two improvisations. Gary’d chosen to do movements 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 14. For both numbers 6 and 7 the choir moved into the aisles, surrounding the audience.

The choir sang very well, as I would have expected. It took me awhile to get into the improvisations—not that they weren’t good and interesting, it’s just that they pulled me away from the world of the Vigil (and of course, just having conducted the entire Vigil, it was very much in my mind). Around mid-way through my brain seemed to “accept” the idea and it was fine. Still, I’d probably rather hear just the Vigil!

I stopped by the reception briefly to greet a few friends in the choir, plus composer Bo Hansson. I didn’t stay long, as I’m still a bit tired and wanted to get a bit of dinner before going home. The day has turned a bit gray and there were even a few drops of rain on the walk home, but a pleasant temperature, even a little warmer.

I have music to prepare for my first rehearsals back with the Radio Choir on Tuesday, but will say more about that in a couple days.

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