The upcoming Mahler 2 performance at Sheffield City Hall (Sunday 19 March) has become all-consuming, presenting challenges of every kind. These range all the way from ‘how will we all fit on the stage?’ to ‘who’s making cake for next week’s rehearsal?; not to mention ‘how do we get nine timpani (and a battery of other percussion) there?’.
A major step forward takes place this Sunday, 5th February. So far the two orchestras, Hallam Sinfonia and Sheffield Philharmonic, have met together only for one playthrough, which not all players were able to attend, and a string rehearsal. Sunday however sees a full day’s programme which the great majority of players are expected to attend.
The morning will be given up to sectional rehearsals – violins/violas, cellos/basses, woodwind, horns and brass, with a separate session for the offstage brass who feature in the last movement. Then in the afternoon everyone, including percussion, will come together to raise the roof.
George Morton, who will conduct the symphony, will take the wind sectional, and Richard Laing, old friend of Hallam Sinfonia, violinist and conductor of the offstage brass, will take the upper strings. Additional tutors will bring their own professional expertise to the workshops. The lower strings will have Peter Dixon, principal cello of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, and two principals from Opera North, Bob Ashworth (horn) and Christian Jones (trombone) will complete the team.
This promises to be an inspiring, productive and exhausting day (hence the need for cake!) which should take us all further along the road to a stupendous performance in March.
(Blog post by Joy Paul)