Intense Ensemble Playing in Treviso

9 February 2016
Cindy Albracht

Cindy Albracht



Hello! I want to tell you a bit about the first day of this tour, because we did something unusual together. Let me prelude this a little.

As – assumingly – any successful artist group, the MCO musicians are also actively reflecting and discussing how to expand our level of artistic awareness even further. The structure of MCO is wonderful in this aspect: you might know that we take a very active part as musicians in all decisions regarding artistic matters. We are all involved to shape our own future.

During tours we always have – beside the rehearsals and concerts – meetings to discuss many things concerning our artistic development. We all vote on decisions, very democratic. For the musicians who form the board these meetings are even much more frequent, they meet even in between tours.

Lately we collected ideas about rehearsing without a conductor, as a new possibility to develop our playing together in other ways than usual, to take time for things we normally don’t really get to work on, and get new views on what we are doing. In the planning of tours things can always change last minute, and sometimes opportunities for this kind of work together appear.

Thus was the case on this tour too: we started with a day without Maestro Gatti, trying out a few of the many ideas that we collected, as a start. The goal was not to work on an interpretive level, as this would maybe interfere with Maestro Gatti’s ideas, but to address certain issues of playing together, to further develop our skills from within, maybe from a new perspective. Everyone could contribute and propose ideas.

I felt super excited about this. Group-dynamics and taking a new look at what I personally do, in a group and as a group, interests me a lot, engaging with this in life always gives new insights and energy. How lucky I am to be part of a group of musicians who want to try out things, new ways, wanting to be flexible and look positively ahead to try out new paths! This is so precious I think, because it may not be easy to get out of your comfort zone. It is certainly not obvious for an established orchestra.

Maybe what we tried this day has been done by other orchestras already, I don’t know, it wouldn’t matter to me – it was a first start to experiment with us rehearsing together, as if we are a string quartet. The great thing for me was that the ideas came from everyone in the orchestra.

From the Dutch delegation in the orchestra came the idea to try out singing together as a start. Michiel Commandeur took the lead in this, he led the singing of Bach’s ‘O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden’ from the St. Matthew Passion.  I was struck how well everyone could sing! It was nice to do something different, and get warm physically. Singing is so wonderful, even with scratchy throats.

Also we tried many ways of moving and breathing together, we worked on timing, solving some differences between winds and strings indirectly, lead by Martin the timpanist and David the concertmaster, which I found super effective and inspiring. And we experimented with playing in totally mixed positions all over the stage. I was sitting behind the oboe in between a double bass and a cello... I feel very inspired to take this kind of rehearsing to a next level, the start has been there!

In any case, we will soon have the opportunity to try out REALLY other ways of giving a concert, in the upcoming concert with Patricia Kopatchinskaja in Hamburg and Berlin. You will experience something completely different than what you are used to at a classical concert! Please come to share and discover, to exchange with us upon our steps on new exciting paths within the classical music scene.