daily news
 

Mon September 1, 2008
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The end of the 2008 FES project came fast - much too fast for us and so we're sitting here back in Stuttgart and try to understand why there are no FES members coming to say hello, ask for the reimbursement of their travel expenses, return their music or simply chat for a minute... it's a little sad to be left behind. I never get used to it even after eight years.
And this is what we've been doing throughout these last days: friday night the European Music Festival in Stuttgart and their audience bid the FES farewell after the concert with Schubert's Unfinished symphony, Gesang der Geister and A-flat major mass. Forget about the somewhat misplaced nokia tune at the end of the men's choir - this was a brilliant performance and we had every right to celebrate in our nightly resort Hospitalhof. Saturday we met at the station and took the train to Mainz where most of us enjoyed a free afternoon and evening in the sunshine. We met sunday afternoon and were transferred to the Eberbach Monastery, a location well known to quite number of the ensemble from former years. In the amazing Basilika the ensemble together with Helmuth Rilling, our wonderful soloists Sibylla Rubens, Roxana Constantinescu, Dominik Wortig and Markus Butter and the audience enjoyed a great finale of the FES 2008 programme as well as of the Rheingau Music Festival. And then we all went to heighten the floods of the river Rhine with our goodbye tears...

ps ... should you plan another performance of Enkelssohn-Barthollies Notturno you can find the music here

Fri August 29, 2008
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Our last (but not final!) daily news are presented by the one and only Hospitalhof SuperMouse! It's been with us for the last few days and is looking forward to a nice party tonight after our Stuttgart-fare-well concert. The Schubert programme that we'll perform this evening in the Beethovensaal was exported yesterday to the Salem Castle. In the full "Zehntscheuer" the audience was very impressed with the FES performance and enthusiastically thanked us for the concert. Well it got a bit hot in the hall with air humidity close to 10000 percent so we were a little breathless right after the perfomance...
The evening before, Wednesday evening, Hollie not only trapped the SuperMouse but also some superb choristers who sang some of their favorite tunes accompanied by The One And Only Robin Engelen in the YMCA bulding next door to the Hospitalhof.

ps - best wishes from our oboe teacher Nigel. He's the one standing directly under the coconut ...

Wed August 27, 2008
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It's hard to believe: only three performances left! Yesterday evening a mixed programme was presented in the Hegelsaal. A Nocturno for winds (supported by a double bass) by F. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and songs for choir, piano, two of them also with soloists, by F. Schubert were followed by Mendelssohn's "Schauspielmusik zu Ein Sommernachtstraum". Since all its major themes are lent from the subsequent pieces and scenes anyway we refrained from bothering the audience with the ouverture and only played the full versions....
Today a somewhat exhausted ensemble tried hard to remember what was rehearsed some days ago with the Schubert Mass, Unfinished Symphony and Gesang der Geister über den Wassern. And they succeeded so we're almost ready for the next performance tomorrow in the real Salem Castle. Todays video shows some remarkable stage arranging sequences surrounded by short bits of music originating from artists concealed behind music stands, conductor's feet or else... Art director Hollie so far refuses to explain what the deeper meaning or his intention is.

Mon August 25, 2008
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Friday we turned our attention to Bach's St. Matthew Passion again. A full run-through in the afternoon gave us an impression of how long this piece is... So now everyone was aware of what was coming. Friday night some Festivalensemble members met in the now worldfamous cave near the path to Spetzgart (well, one or two were missing) to celebrate the last free evening in Überlingen. Next morning only a short rehearsal took place to do some minor corrections.
In the afternoon three buses took us to the island of Reichenau where we performed the Passion for the first time. The Monastery St. Markus & Maria belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage and originates back to the 8th century and over 700 people were carried away by the touching passion story. Of course the concert was followed by a fare-well party in Salem College!
After a good brunch on Sunday morning the ensemble packed and moved to Stuttgart. Check in in three different hotels, change into concert dress and run to the Liederhalle took only minutes... Then we started the European Music Festival with the second (and last) performance of Bach's St. Matthew Passion. The concert went very well and we were rewarded at a reception with nice finger-food, and a good glass of wine.
Today is Hollie's birthday - our best wishes for him!!! He invited everybody for a barbecue - and I urgently have to go there now...

Thu August 21, 2008
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Just a few words after a wonderful concert in the Härlen Aula of Salem College. First of all: thank you all FES for a most enjoyable evening! As you have seen we had a bit of work during the concert so it will take a little time to sort the pictures and audio samples... please be patient. These last days were filled with rehearsals for this evening, weather was fair and only some of us had energy left to do gymnastics. Others relaxed in the rare free minutes or closed the office and went for a nice swin in the lake. Special today: Festivalensemble instrumentalists singing Bach chorals - video here.

Mon August 18, 2008
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Our first week together is nearly over. We finished rehearsals with Bach's St Matthew Passion on Sunday night with another talk given by Helmuth Rilling. He explained and had the ensemble play examples which gave an idea of this work's ertraordinarily complex structures. The evening ended with the final choral from the passion.
Before that the weekend had offered two half-days of free time. Saturday afternoon and sunday until afternoon were free. On saturday afternoon singers could participate in workshops held by our wonderful soloists on solo and soliloquent parts of St. Matthew's Passion. Not everybody stayed in the College: the "Strandpromenade" in Überlingen as well as the Spa, paddeling boats, water ski and ice cream saloons were alternative attractions. The sun was shining and so we had a good time. Later that day the brass players. clarinets and timpani players arrived. They join the Festivalensemble for the Schubert programme which started today.
Another good piece of work is waiting for us now to prepare this programme. And there is still more coming...

Fri August 15, 2008
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Day 4. A good piece of work has been done in the last two days. We are almost through the whole St Matthew's Passion - and this is not an easy piece of music which demands many details to be rehearsed again and again. But the Choir, Orchestra and not to forget our wonderful Soloist are doing a great Job! This afternoon a little contest was carried out to find singers for the soliloquent parts. The jury then got in some kind of "luxury dilemma" to choose from a number of very talented (and well prepared) voices...
you can find a short "multi testis" video here.
A very special hello today goes to our long-year's members Elisabeth Marshall and Richard Monk - the celebrate their wedding tomorrow! We wish them all the best for one hundred happy years!
Wheather has improved but is still quite cold but right now we are enjoying a wonderful sunset. So I have to go for now... Come back after the weekend to see how we start the Schubert programme.

Wed August 13, 2008
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WELCOME TO THE EIGHTTH SUMMER OF THE FESTIVALENSEMBLE STUTTGART -
well, finally it started! After some 11 months of preparation almost 100 young musicians from 21 Nations arrived in Überlingen yesterday. They had travelled by plane, bus, train or car and – almost a miracle – everybody arrived safely (well, some suitcases got lost in Amsterdam, Frankfurt or elsewhere... but should arrive tonight). Most precisely with the first bus arrival it started to rain heavily - and never stopped until everybody was asleep.
This morning we were greeted by wonderful warmin rays from the sun out of a blue sky. and a little later by Christian Lorenz, new CEO and Artistic Manager of the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart and Barbara Dietzler from Salem International College. First sectional rehearsals started 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 until late 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 ("Schnecke" 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.
Coming back to statistics: we not only celebrate our eightth year but also well over fivethousand pictures - on today's thirtyeightth photograph, which happens to be the fivethousandthandfourth picture in our eightth year of daily news you can find not in the third but in the second row as tenth person from the left: Felicity Smith from New Zealand.

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