John Tavener world premiere gets blog coverage

There are an awful lot of music blogs out there, but not many of them are written by top-flight performing musicians, yet alone one who tomorrow gives the first performance of an important work by a leading living composer. Nicholas Daniel (left) has built quite a reputation as principal oboe with the Britten Sinfonia, and as a conductor. Tomorrow (November 6) Daniel and the Britten Sinfonia give the world premiere of John Tavener's oboe concert Kaleidoscopes at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall. The new work is Tavener's tribute to Mozart; but, as well as an oboe soloist and chamber orchestra, the score calls for the distinctly non-Mozartian forces of a very large gong and four Tibetan temple bowls! Nicholas Daniel is blogging in the run up to the first performance, and here are his latest entries:

03 November 2006 - later
I think the top Bb may be in! Am going to surprise John with at the rehearsal and see what he says. Terrible risk! I love risk! If only my Mother In Law’s dog would stop barking every 10 minutes it might be possible to get some work done!

03 November 2006

I’m just back from rather a marathon and very enjoyable teaching stint in Germany . I managed to find time for work on ‘scopes’ (as I’ll minimize it to), but it was really quite challenging to work on the piece after 8 hours teaching before a 2 hour masterclass!
It’s just that the oboe plays in this piece for about 30 or 35 minutes without ever really taking it out of the mouth. It’s a huge challenge, a bit like playing the famously lethal Strauss Concerto (actually not so lethal but one of the harder pieces for stamina) twice, having cut out all the orchestral tuttis!. I worked out that there are several points with the metronome mark that I am playing repeatedly for 30 second stretches with no breathing place and circular breathing (puffing out with cheek muscles and inhaling through nose simultaneously) just seems somehow wrong. It may of course be necessary! Add to the mix Tchaikovsky String Serenade, some Mozart, a 3 hour rehearsal on the day and on some days a pre-concert talk too and you can see why I need to be so well prepared! Of course the reed is absolutely crucial and I had delivery of a new batch of my amazing reeds made by Dimiter Jordanov in Montreal. Environmentally inexcusable I know, reeds with air miles, but my goodness they are little treasures. At least I buy locally grown veg round here, apart from the sweet potatos that my Doctor insists I eat every day!

For the whole story of John Tavener's Kaleidescopes follow this link to Nicholas Daniel's blog.

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