2016. Spain with Mitsuko Uchida.

I

2016. It is still dark when we leave home and drive in the fog to Frankfurt on January 4th. The holiday is barely over, school is starting again. Everything feels heavy, mood and suitcases. Having left the car in a remote car park, we catch a lift to the terminal. The cold grey damp winter follows us, but soon, as we climb through the clouds,  I am reminded of our destination. The blazing sunshine puts a smile on my face. The tour has started.

A stop over in Madrid, with fresh orange juice and tortilla before we fly on to Alicante. It’s about 20C in Alicante when we arrive in the evening. Change of light, change of mood, it feels almost as far as Cartagena de Indias, just a year ago. Christmas lights are still up and we can feel that something big is about to happen. On January 6th, the Epiphany or ‘Fiesta de Los tres Reyes Mages’ is celebrated, with a big parade going through town on the 5th evening. Children have some presents on Christmas Day, but most are opened at Epiphany.

 

II

This tour is the start of Mahler Chamber Orchestra’s collaboration with pianist Mitsuko Uchida, our Artistic Partner. The Auditorio de la Diputacion is our home for the rehearsals and the first concert. Nearby, the Castell de la Santa Barbara offers stunning views, and an unusual lunch break.

 

III

Then Valencia. Oranges, dark nights, the Palau de la Musica, and the poetic nocturnal dancers – Ctenophores, the most delicately beautiful, seemingly innocent yet most voracious, sinister and destructive of plankton organisms.

 

IV

Valencia to Barcelona, a train ride by the coast, and a short walk to the concert at Palau de la Musica.

V

Bilbao, and the magnetic Guggenheim. No matter how many times I have been to Bilbao, the Guggenheim always beckons. I suppose the introspective experience of Richard Serra’s sculptures have always made a deep impression on me. It’s only a “Matter of Time”.

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