So a lot has happened over the past month; I’ve had my final recital, final concert with the Hornclass, done some crazy amounts of travelling and finally, won a full-time job. Before the audition however, I had an absolutely epic and very unexpected week.
It started off on Wednesday the 25.1… I had just played Adagio and Allegro (Schumann) the previous night in Blechforum (brass concert) and I was taking it easy by only beginning my routine at 10am (most days it’s 8/9am). I was lucky enough to slip in a cheeky play-through of Strauss 1 & Mozart 4 (typical audition concertos) with my accompanist before she had to leave Hannover until the weekend.
At 12pm, I was about to start my second round of practice when I noticed I had a missed call from the opera orchestra in Saarbrücken . I had no idea why they would be calling me. I had previously auditioned for the Solo Horn job there (twice!) and both auditions were, for me, not such good experiences. Anyway, I called back and found out that they were desperately looking for a 3rd horn player for a concert they had in the Luxembourg Philharmonie on Saturday evening. Catch was, they needed someone to be there for the rehearsal that night, the following night and then for the bus ride early Saturday morning.
This is where I mention that it’s 6 hours from Hannover to Saarbrücken and the main reason they called is because they thought I was still living in Mannheim (only 1.5 hours from Saarbrücken). After a very quick check of the train schedules, I figured out that if I left the school right then, I would make the train that would get me there 45 mins before the rehearsal. Problem was, I had nothing with me except my horn and backpack (containing a packed lunch/dinner, laptop & gym clothes). The other problem was that I wouldn’t be able to come back to Hannover after the concert, but instead would need to go directly to Heidelberg for my audition which would take place shortly after – meaning I would be away for a week. Damn.
I had to take the gig. Not only was I really in need of the money, but I had never been to Luxembourg and they are a good orchestra – meaning potential future gigs if this one panned out well. So I jumped on the train and got my good friend Steph to throw me a small suitcase of some clothes when I was passing through Frankfurt. I arrived in Saarbrücken in time to jump in a taxi and made the rehearsal in good time! The program for this concert was selections of Wagner’s Parsifal (which I wasn’t needed in) and Debussy’s Le Martyre de Saint Sébastien (which has 6 horns).
I had such an awesome time playing with the orchestra. They are a fantastic orchestra and a really awesome and friendly horn group. The only downside was the choir and their conductor. They unfortunately didn’t quite meet the standard of the orchestra.
I had to do an awful amount of shopping in Saarbrücken, something I don’t particularly enjoy unless it’s food or second hand clothes shopping – but got what I needed for the week! I was also lucky enough to be able to practise in the theatre so I could keep in shape for my upcoming auditions 🙂
On the Saturday, we caught the bus nice and early so we could be at the Philharmonie for the General Rehearsal at 11am. The Luxembourg Philharmonie is amazing. It’s very architecturally unique but also has fantastic acoustics. After the rehearsal, one of the lovely horn players (also playing as a casual for this project, but has a full-time job in the Radio Orchestra in Saarbrücken) and I decided to explore Luxembourg, as we had about 6 hours to kill.
Luxembourg wasn’t at all what I expected. I was thinking it would be like Brussels or Vienna, but it’s nothing of the sort! It’s expensive, spread out and so variant with its architecture. We explored the upper part of the city first before delving into its depths whilst trying to find a good feed (which can be relatively hard for a vegan!).
Concert went very well and the bus ride back even more so as I had managed to get my hands on some Belgian beer! Yummm! I also found out on the bus that breakfast at my hotel was included. I had already been there 3 nights and missed 3 breakfasts so was very much looking forward to making up for it the next morning!
After over-indulging in the buffet breakfast, I got some sneaky practice in, lunch with one of the horn players and then onwards to Mannheim to stay with a friend for a few nights before my audition in Heidelberg. That’s all for the next blog post though!