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November, 2006
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Well, finally here they are: latest "daily news", famous last words - as you prefer... Always busy preparing next year's project (our biggest ever!), Hollie presents a selection of your "best shots" – a big "thank you!" to all the photographers. Enjoy looking at them and immerse yourselves in sweet memories of a magnificent summer with absolutely great people! You should definitely do this while listening to some fantastic recordings from our concerts now available and ready for download on the mp3 files page. And that's been it for the FES 2006 sessions. Thanks again to all of you who have joined us, stay in touch and watch out for the 2007 programme!

Mon September 11, 2006
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The last three days of the 2006 Festivalensemble Stuttgart sessions went by in a snap! Friday afternoon we traveled to Bad Urach (small town at the edge of the Schwäbische Alb - try to pronounce the name correctly!). In the beautiful church of St. Amandus - Helmuth Rilling used to sing there many times in his student years - we performed our programme in d-minor: Kyrie, piano concerto no. 20 with Martin Stadtfeld and Requiem. Saturday was free - good opportunity to go to the Leuze spa or to the Zoo or simply stroll through Stuttgart on a sunny late summer day. Or to start reorganizing the chaos which indoubtedly developed in so many Hotel rooms... And then the last Festivalensemble day broke - morning still free, in the afternoon last stage rehearsal for the Grande Finale: once again the d-minor programme - this time in a sold out Beethovensaal! After a great performance FES members, friends and guests were invited to the Hospitalhof to our farewell party. Still tired after not so much sleep and sad, feeling a little "left behind", the FES staff - Birgit, Hollie, Susanne, Elisabeth, Martin and Tobias - came to work this morning (no pictures - I knew you would understand!)... We will publish the latest news and comments and soundfiles in the next two weeks - please send your best photos to compile the "best shots" special page!

Fri September 8, 2006
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Monday in Stuttgart - a day of relaxation and rehearsing for the 4.5-hours "open stage" concert on Monday evening. A mixture of serious modern solo brass music and fun pieces like the Bach violin concerto played with much virtuosity in the new FES style was presented. Debate is still going on whether the whole string section should switch (except for double basses of course, who are currently developing a technique to play their instrument sitting inside it). The concert ended with "FES latin ensemble" playing "como fue" arranged by Robin and sung by Ariel. We hope there is more in the pipeline for next Sunday! Tuesday last performance of parts from the Mass in c minor in a lecture concert. Helmuth Rilling explained the background of the reconstruction and completion of this work and Robert Levin cast in some short comments every now and then. Wednesday afternoon was free and the Canadian FES members were taken out on a excursion to the Ritter chocolate factory and then enjoyed a guided tour through the historical old town (the author of these lines lived there for some weeks in last centuries '80s to study law...) followed by "Gschnetzeltes mit Schbätzle mit Soß" in a nice restaurant outside Tübingen. This was a nice afternoon and we thank the Honorary Consul Theo Schweiker for it!! Next day after the morning rehearsal (without pianist) we switched back to the Requiem and performed another lecture concert. A party in the Hospitalhof bar ended this beautiful sunny day.

Mon September 4, 2006
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What a great and exciting week this was! Our last day in Überlingen, Tuesday, was filled with packing and reorganising luggage - the bigger pieces were sent to Stuttgart directly whereas for the tournee we were asked to take as little as possible (I must say: very well done everybody!). Tuesday afternoon we performed the Great Mass in c minor for the forst time in Salem Castle's Zehntscheuer - with tempi on the sportive side and fabulous soloists this was a great pleasure to perform and to hear. And not the last one on that day as can be seen on the pictures from the party after this concert! Great compliment to the Festivalensemble: at midnight after a delicious buffet and some hot dance the mensa looked as if nothing never happened... Next day was not just as easy: train ride to Salzburg (world famous for its Schnürlregen, Nockerln and Festival), short nap or tour de ville, then rehearsal and concert in the church of St. Peters. Thursday morning check out ("get your tickets..." etc) and another train ride. And as we rode through the Austrian Alps towards the land of cheese and chocolate the sun came out after so many days revealing the most beautiful sights on snow-powdered mountains and grey Swiss cows. Very relaxing train ride - and a free evening in Lucerne with its many picturesque framework buildings, the river Reuss, the Fourforesttowner Lake and perfect weather. We slept in until 8 on Friday and enjoyed nice walks in Lucerne, late afternoon we met for a short stage rehearsal before the concert in the marvellous concert hall of the KKL. Saturday - maybe a little tired still - we took another train to Mainz and were transferred to the Eberbach Monastery where we ended the concert tour. Sunday morning last train ride to Stuttgart. One week of "stationary" concerts within the Europäisches Musikfest Stuttgart ahead! No more packing and unpacking every evening, check-ins, "get your tickets..." - and we started rightaway with the EMS opening concert Sunday evening and were invited afterwards to the Stuttgart town house to a reception of the City of Stuttgart. Good start for our last week together!

Mon August 28, 2006
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Saturday night's concert was great! The audience was entertained with à capella music of different epoches and style and instrumental jewels from the last 5 centuries. After 2 hours in a packed Härlen Aula the audience enjoyed an open air serenade from the woodwinds. Sunday saw the first public performance of Mozart's Requiem in the church of St. Mary and Markus on the island of Reichenau. Half an hour before the concert the church was full with many dozens of extra seats "borrowed" from the Town House, choir and orchestra garderobes etc - whatever was available... The church was a wonderful place for this programme and the concert also a great success! Tomorrow we'll perform the c-minor mass in a pre-concert in Salem and then go on tour to Salzburg, Luzern and Eberbach before returning to Stuttgart next Sunday. Therefore: Next update Monday, September 4.

Sat August 26, 2006
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Time passes by fast – we’re only hours before the first concert now. Wednesday evening, Marc, Ralf and Eckhard - bassoon, clarinet and trumpet teachers and voice teacher Friedemann - left the Salem College already. Then on Thursday we took a boat to Konstanz with almost all Festivalensemble members and the remaining teachers. The day started with sunshine but there were some pretty good showers in the afternoon – especially on our way home. We made it, a little wet and hungry (much to the amusement of our fabulous kitchen people!). Well, the stage is set and everyone is taking a last nap before the Härlen Chamber concert.

Wed August 23, 2006
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Monday and Tuesday, Martin Stadtfeld came to rehearse Mozarts piano concerto in d minor with the orchestra and Helmuth Rilling. This concert will be performed in Bad Urach on the 8th and in Stuttgart on the 10th of September together with Kyrie and Requiem. The former Salem director Dr. Bueb stopped by for a short visit and we had guests from the "studium generale" program here in Überlingen for a couple of days. All works have been rehearsed now and just need a little polish here and there... speaking of polish: the last 10 shots of today match perfectly a German (and also English) saying. Which one? First to write it will get a 10€ ice cream cup tomorrow in Constance (from me). Valid for FES members only!

Mon August 21, 2006
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Almost a week now... wheather has turned a little more to clowdy and we experience funny short time showers of just some minutes several times each day. Beautiful sunset with rainbow in the back on Saturday was photographed a million times (at least) - here are the winners of the "beautiful sunset photography contest". Meanwhile the ensemble is complete and we had run-through rehearsals with soloists on Sunday afternoon and Monday morning. Must I say we are most enthusiastic about their singing? We are! Of course, work does not stop after tutti rehearsals - some teacher was so much sought after for chamber music that he had to be cloned and can now play duets with himself... In short breaks between rehearsal sessions we're playing table tennis or throwing funny flying objects at each other. Our short movie today shows scenes from rehearsals - mostly.

Sat August 19, 2006
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After the section rehearsals on Thursday we joined togehter the whole orchestra on Friday afternoon and were positively surprised! After only two days they have become an ensemble already - working together very closely, listening one to the other and adjusting very rapidly to imbalances, be it pitch, speed, articulations etc. Same with the choir - the afternoon rehearsal in the Alte Turnhalle at Spetzgart Castle was a real pleasure listening to! Even with the light situation being not ideal (for photographers as well as for singers...). Saturday early morning Helmuth Rilling arrived in his beautiful red car. After a cup of coffee he started the first tutti rehearsal. Finally we could hear what it all would sound like - almost all the c-minor Mass and Requiem were played through and everybody was happy with this "preliminary" result. Now we know what lies ahead of us: a good piece of work and a very promising concert phase! As you can see, wheather is still fair - apart from a special meteorological phenomenon, a "Föhnsturm" (hairdryer storm) coming down on us on Friday morning shortly before 6 the days are nice and warm. Forecast is not too optimistic, though...

Thu August 17, 2006
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Day 0 (Monday) - no photos... It is just the FES staff here in Überlingen. We arrived Monday morning to set up the classrooms, our office and prepare everything for
Day 1 - arrival day - finally the long waiting has come to an end! Sorry, still no photos - everybody was soo busy welcoming good old friends and new friends (hopefully!) arriving all day from Stuttgart airport by bus or in Überlingen station. Luckily after two very cold rainy weeks the sky turned blue in the afternoon and the sun sent some warm welcome rays from above.
After some snacks and many hellos everybody went to sleep early.
Day 2 started with Andreas Keller, CEO of the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart welcoming all musicians from over 20 countries and introducing to them the teachers, FES and Salem College staff. Tired expressions on the listeners' faces correspond closely to the distance they travelled the day before...
Nevertheless the rest of the day was filled with first section rehearsals - and, as was reported by the teachers in their afternoon meeting, they are happy with their results so far! Tomorrow Hollie will be in Stuttgart - we'll be back with news, pictures, stories, gossip and comments on Saturday

The daily comments for the news written by Tobias. Photos & Short Videos mostly by Hollie the webmaster.
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