09 May 2011

Simon Oliver writes: Last night we performed Mahler's Symphony No. 3. Being the only work in the programme, the performance started at around 7.30pm and ended at 9.30pm, with no interval! What a phenomenal work it is and all the forces involved, Maestro Maazel, the Philharmonia, the mezzo soprano Sarah Connolly, the Philharmonia Voices and the Tiffin Boys Choir, gave a monumental performance! I felt very privileged to be a part of it.

I have a hard time believing that Maazel is really 81 years of age! But I have no trouble in imagining him leading us through mighty performances of this work even when he is ninety one! He will no doubt be standing up on that rostrum, full of energy and insight for the entire one hundred plus minutes it takes! Some critics have pointed out that now and again he holds the rostrum bar; wouldn't you at eighty one? If I could conduct, I'd probably have to do the whole concert sitting down at 51!

We now start touring Europe. It is one of the privileges you get when working with the Philharmonia, travelling to cities across the world, playing in some great concert halls and experiencing different cultures, food and lifestyles. Mike and I will be blogging and sharing our time away from London with you. It's not all glamour mind; plenty of long journeys ahead, early mornings, late nights and hard work.

The Philharmonia is a wonderful musical ambassador for London and indeed all of the UK. We will be visiting Luxembourg, Paris, Hamburg, Bonn, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Bremen, Mannheim, Essen. You can be certain we will give all our audiences a night to remember.

I can't decide which city I'm looking forward to the most; all of them have different things to offer and explore. However, I do love Paris in the springtime and unfortunately for those within earshot, I feel a song coming on!