Here we are in Edinburgh, with the snow falling thickly, and we have finally launched our new principal conductor. After his first week of Highland concerts with us in the summer of 2008, we’ve all been waiting impatiently for this new musical journey to begin. It’s a rare thing for an orchestra to be unanimous in its reaction to a conductor – but for everyone at SCO, it’s been full steam ahead since we first met Robin.
Starting a new relationship like this is an interesting and exciting process. It feels a lot like a marriage. [I admit I’ve been to 10 weddings this year.] First of all there is the heart lurching excitement of realising that everyone feels the same, both parties are in love - everyone wants to make this appointment. What a miracle! But after that, oh the fear that it might not work out! Careful negotiations take place behind the scenes - the asking for and granting of permission by agents, guardians and managements. Probably there are some prenuptial agreements to be sorted out. Banns of marriage are read out in the press, excitement builds to fever pitch, and then, at last, after setting dates and venues, (What to wear?! And how to do your hair?), it’s the big event, the public declaration. And the party. Let’s not forget the party.
You can participate in the event yourself by ‘listening again’ on BBC Radio 3 to us playing Brahms, Mahler and Henze with Ticciati and Magdalena Kozena – and you will be joining sir Simon Rattle in the audience, supporting his wife and his former pupil.
So, now that it’s on with the show, as I said, how do we feel? Our second week of concerts started last night in St.Andrews, and while harp strings snapped with heart-stopping cracks, and tyres burst on the cars outside, all I can say is if we were a CLOCK we’d be popping our springs, and if we were a bell, we’d be ringing...