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Mon October 08, 2007
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Finally here they are: latest "daily news"! Hollie presents a selection of your "best shots" – a big "thank you!" to all the photographers!!!

Thu September 13, 2007
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What a day - what a week! After the second lecture concert last Friday we spent most Saturday in recording sessions for the CD of Britten's War Requiem. Sunday evening's concert ended the European Music Festival Stuttgart (at least for the audience - staff and ensembles celebrated in our part-time "living room" Hospitalhof). Monday morning saw some tired faces but we bravely finished the CD recording before we got on the train(s) to Leverkusen. The free evening was most welcome!
Tuesday night Britten's War Requiem was directly broadcasted from our concert in the Forum Leverkusen - on the special date of September 11th this was also to commemorate the victims of the terroristic attacs six years ago. So this evening brought back to some us also the memories of the first Festivalensemble year, 2001 when we performed on that very evening and under the impression of the terrible pictures and reports Verdi's Requiem in Berlin...
And then our last day came. We were transferred to Bonn (West Germany's former capital) by a gang of ill-humoured coach drivers and after a short nap we met in Bonn's Beethovenhalle for a stage rehearsal.
The concert was just awesome and everyone in the hall as well as on stage was really touched until long after the last "amen" had faded away.
You could see 250 people going in some kind of procession from the concert hall down to the river Rhine to enter a boat, MS Siebengebirge, that was there with thousands of lights glowing, some barrels of Kölsch and a buffet waiting for the hungry and thirsty musicians. It was a wonderful party!

As this is our last entry in this diary we want to say to all members of the 2007 Festivalensemble: Thank you once more for having been with us through the last weeks. You were a wonderful group and great musicians and you are the most loveable crowd we could ever have wished to spend a summer with!

Hoping to meet you again in the future
yours,

Birgit, Elisabeth, Hannes, Hollie, Suse and Tobias
ps - Hollie will publish a collection of "best shots!" in the next couple of days - if you have some pictures to share please send them to him soon.

Fri September 07, 2007
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Daily life in Stuttgart - unfortunately the weather isn't really what you could call latre summer-like, so we spend most of the time inside. On Wednesday we heard a great orchestra concert with works from Tomasi, Stravinsky, Britten and Schubert performed through different ensembles. Sadly there were still some seats empty in the Hegelsaal, but those who were there were enthusiastic! Britten's War Requiem was taken up again on Thursday with rehearsals and the first of two "lecture concerts". Helmuth Rilling and Robin Engelen analysed the complex structures of Britten's piece and Owen's lyrics and I hope the ensemble had a chance to understand some of their interesting explanations!
Evenings usually end in the Hospitalhof Bar with a cup of apple juice or two so everybody is fit for the challenges of the next morning... Herewith "daily news" from Stuttgart come to an end. We will post a "summary" of the next days with our last concerts in Stuttgart, Leverkusen and Bonn end of next week.

Tue September 04, 2007
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We are waiting for Tobias... Here I am - sorry for the delay! We had three concerts in two days and only now find the time to post pictures. In the Eberbach Monastary we performed the War Requiem for the second time - our last church concert for this year (alas!). In the candle-lit church and an almost mystical ambiance the audience was once more moved by Britten's piece.
There wasn't much time to switch to the other works: Mahler's 5th Symphony and the Romantic choir a cappella programme had to be prepared (warmed up) for the concerts on Sunday. T
he orchestra went on yet another bus ride back to Lake Constance to play Mahler in Salem Castle's "Zehntscheuer" (sorry, no translation) and returned just in time to listen to the last four songs the Festivalensemble Choir presented in Stuttgart. Monday evening the Mahler's 5th could be heard for the second (and last) time in Stuttgart's Beethovensaal. Christoph Poppen was heartily acclaimed for his work by the orchestra and audience and after the concert was bid farewell in our little "hospitalhof bar" just around the corner...

Fri August 31, 2007
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Back in Stuttgart! Just a minute before we depart to our second concert with Britten in Kloster Eberbach, I want to share the impressions of the last days in Uberlingen.
Monday and Tuesday we rehearsed together with Aurelius Sängerknaben. Wednesday the whole ensemble was transferred to the wonderful Weingarten Basilika - and it was a rather difficult thing to fit all 250 musicians in the astonishingly narrow set-up... But the concert in the sold-out church went very well and the audience was touched by the performance as well as by the piece itself! A special aspect were some thousands of bats sailing through the vast spaces in the Basilika...
The bus is waiting so I have to end for today - wish us good luck for the Eberbach Concert!

Tue August 28, 2007
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Indeed - a very large number of people came to our concert on August 26! In the over-crowded Aula of the Salem college a colorful selection of music was presented, ranging from romantic choir pieces to "flutes en vacances" - not to forget the percussion pieces. The concert ended open air under a (93.5%) full moon with brass and clarinet music.
After a most welcome late breakfast and free morning Helmuth Rilling returned from Stuttgart and we welcomed the Aurelius Sängerknaben Calw, the boys choir for the War Requiem. A 250 (!) people's birthday salut for Andrea, Sarah, Christian and Michael started the late afternoon rehearsal.
Much too fast our great time in Salem College is coming to an end soon: one full rehearsal day tomorrow then the first War Requiem performance in the Weingarten Basilika followed by the (legendary) "farewell Salem" party... We promise to collect some nice impressions of these events for you and put them online once we installed ourselves in Stuttgart in Friday.

Sun August 26, 2007
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Dear visitors, I hope a large number of you are their way now to Salem College to listen to the first Festivalensemble concert! We'll present pictures and comments later...
Throughout the last days we rehearsed not only Mahler's 5th but also an extensive chamber music programme. To be honest – it was almost too much to prepare so we had to make some "corrections" here and there...
We hope that you enjoy the sunset pictures and those of our surroundings. Those who prefer movies please see the video clips at the end of the pictures compilation.

Thu August 23, 2007
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Here comes the sun - finally good weather! but that of course isn't the most important thing to tell (although it adds much to the great atmosphere in Salem College). While our webmaster Hollie has been away to un- and reinstall the computer network for the European Music Festival Hannes took some pictures at the Britten rehearsals; the chamber orchestra and all three soloists joined in and we now have an idea of how this most touching piece works. Helmuth Rilling left us this afternoon and Britten's War Requiem will rest now until Monday when he returns.Taking a nap in the sunshine has become a welcome alternative to such dangerous pastime as playing soccer... Thursday afternoon Christoph Poppen arrived to meet the Orchestra for the first tutti rehearsal with Mahler's 5th Symphony. After a run-through which went quite well already they started working in detail until dinner. Fortunately the orchestra was well prepared in sectionals throughout the last days so they made good progress! And once more there is brass music filling the air above the "central court" (today a more melancholic selection) - so I have to finish for today and listen.

Tue August 21, 2007
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After a sunny afternoon Sunday ended with a thunderstorm. Hollie presented "Some like it hot" in the Festival Movie tent (it didn't help much though: today it was quite cold). Monday morning Helmuth Rilling arrived and had the first rehearsal in the "Alte Turnhalle" or – as some of us call it: the "old barn" – with the choir while the orchestra had their first tutti rehearsal under Gernot "GMD" Süßmuth. As you can see there is quite a bit of eqipment set up in the Aula which can produce a considerable sound. And there is much more in the pipeline for tomorrow when we're going to join choir and orchestra – even then there is still the chamber orchestra and the boy choir waiting round the corner... I do hope there will be some space left to move when all musicians finally are in the Aula!
During breaks (if we're not busy eating what the wonderful kitchen staff has prepared for us) we try our best to balance out physical and spiritual energies by playing table tennis or doing other kinds of sports. I finish today's comments with the full sound of a french horn octett in my ears calling me to a glass of wine outside our office...

Sun August 19, 2007
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Festivalensemble 2007 – finally it started! After some 11 months of preparation almost 200 young musicians from 33 Nations arrived yesterday in Überlingen. They had travelled by plane, bus, train or car and – almost a miracle – everybody arrived safely (well, 6 suitcases got lost in Amsterdam, Moscow or elsewhere... but will arrive tonight, or tomorrow).
Saturday morning we met in the Aula to be welcomed by Andreas Keller, Executive Director of the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart and Barbara Dietzler from Salem International College and started the first sectional rehearsals right afterwards. If you discover a tired face or two please don't blame it on the music, it's a phenomenon called jet lag (or chatting with old friends you haven't met for a year).
During the next two weeks we'll present pictures from ensemble members, our teachers and staff, the wonderful Überlingen landscape, exotic animals ("cow" today) and our daily life. If you like the pictures you can send your comment to our guestbook. And if you feel inspired to come to one of our concerts you are most welcome! Please check the schedule here.

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