16 May 2011

Simon Oliver writes: We have just got back from Paris! The first part of the trip has been a great success all round and we now have one day to rest before we fly out to Germany on Tuesday. Paris was lovely but, my word, really expensive! I had an apple juice in a cafe not far from the concert hall and it cost me 9 euros! What's that about?

I had a strange experience with the performance of Mahler's Seventh Symphony on Saturday night which I would like to share. The orchestra played brilliantly but you know what for one night, Mahler pretty much just got to me!

The concentration you need for a Mahler symphony is so intense, I think I experienced a certain type of Mahler overload. Playing all his symphonies in such a short space of time and giving so much of yourself is really exhausting. The Seventh Symphony is such a long one and after the performance I almost needed to put my soul out to dry, that's the only way I can describe it. I felt I needed a sort of Mahler holiday, a time when my musical life was not so consistently massive!

But, as you can see from the photo, after an intense concert the best thing to do is to get a group of friends together and have some serious chill out time. You quickly get your strength back and the next day you can give your Parisienne audience an amazing performance of his Fifth Symphony, and that's just what we did!

So now I'm back home and I can reflect on what an amazing experience all this really is. You have to take time to recover from your efforts though, and you most certainly need time to recover from the price of an apple juice in Paris!