Alban's Blog


While sitting in the lounge of the Chicago O’Hare airport I have some time to think about the past few days in Fort Worth. I was playing three times the Brahms Double Concerto together with Augustin Hadelich, the Fort Worth Symphony and their chief conductor Miguel Hardt-Bedoya. And except the last performance which took place this afternoon I was not really happy with myself, which was even more regrettable since the orchestra and especially Augustin played real well.What happened? Oh, nothing bad, we had good performances and a good success, but besides the fact that I missed a couple of notes in the first two notes, I just didn’t feel on top of “the game”, didn’t feel as creative as I like to feel, and unfortunately it was entirely my fault; in order to overcome jetlag I have to be very disciplined with the amount of sleep I am getting, and I wasn’t. I just didn’t feel like turning off the computer/TV/light at night, but then didn’t manage to at least sleep in, but woke up every morning at 8 am.

On top of that I was practicing during the day quite a lot the Pintscher and Schönberg concerti which I have to learn by next month, so in order to keep the focus on the Brahms I should have been much clearer in my head. Sure, I can’t help the fact that I have to practice many other pieces on the days of concerts, but at least I should have the discipline to go to bed early enough in order to have enough to give during a concert, which wasn’t the case. Today I slept in, practiced a bit and felt a whole lot better during the performance, even though 2 pm is not my favorite time to start a concert.

Now I am on my way to Frankfurt, where I will arrive at 1:15pm. A train will hopefully get me to Reutlingen (South of Stuttgart) at 4:15 pm, at 6 pm I have a rehearsal for Rococo Variations and Andante cantabile (also by Tchaikovsky), and the concert will start two hours after that – ojwej, that will hurt so bad. Whoever knows how the fingers feel after an intercontinental flight especially travelling East will feel with me. I just hope that I will survive this concert…

And from now on I promise I will be tough on myself and retire early enough to avoid boring concerts!


  • Florian

    Pintscher and Schoenberg?!
    That sound awesome! Are you recording these pieces or playing them in concerts soon?
    Good luck for the rokoko and liebe Gruesse,

  • Shunske

    hey Alban…your honesty towards yourself is really admirable. east or west, flying around like you do is a super-human feat. take good care of yourself – your wonderful music making will need it very much 🙂

  • Chantal

    Hi Alban, I love reading your blog!

    I’m sorry you didn’t seem too happy with your performance—but think, you get to do it again (in Carnegie Hall too!) so I bet that will be amazing at that time, and afterwards you’ll write a blog about how happy you were with the performance!

    All the best to you…

  • Barry

    Alban: I was there in Fort Worth, and if you were not on top of your game I don’t think it showed. I’m a cellist and I’ve certainly heard the Double with many different cellists. The two of you sounded like you’ve been playing this together for years, wonderful ensemble, greatly sculpted phrases, nice balance. I think (on Sunday at least) I even saw you smile a few times. The two of you seemed to enjoy making music so much together. It was a wonderful performance. I understand the travel issues, and can’t imagine how you can keept the schedule that you do keep. All of those seated around us were simply amazed by your music.

    Hope your flight, train and concert all went well, and come back to Fort Worth soon.


  • Alex Vilaseca

    discipline? Honestly only with your commentaries we can see that you are one of few interpreters that write so hardly of themselves. Alban, personally I think that you demand from yourself one of the major levels of discipline of the musicians of our days and the result are you, one of the best. Your music gives to me feelings as nobody has done. Spirit!

  • Damian

    I was sitting directly below you in the front row at 2 o’clock at Bass Hall in Fort Worth. The short pause after your performance seemed felt in the entire room. You looked back and forth and no one did anything. There was no room for applause. Everyone seemed to float in suspense for a long time, and there was no tension release. A new plateau seemed to push everyone up.

    You conjured many thoughts and reflections to my mind yesterday. I wish I could speak with you about approaching my instrument, drumset. A pleasure to encounter you. If you find yourself tempted by the TV again, email me instead and share your thoughts. All the best energy to you-

  • Alban

    Hi Florian,
    yes, I am performing these pieces by Pintscher and Schönberg in November. Yes, it’s still some time to go, but I know by now how time tends to fly, especially when one has to learn difficult pieces…
    Ciao Shunsuke, look who is talking – you are doing the same, but you don’t complain about it like me 🙂
    Hey Chantal, thanks for your encouragement, I hope you are right that I will like what I do in Carnegie Hall. May it not stay just wishful thinking!

  • Alban

    Hello Barry, Damian and Alex: Thanks a lot for your nice words, and yes, Sunday was the best of the three performances, I was much happier about it – I felt much clearer in my head, much more “on top of the game”, able to do things spontaneously, “creative” so to say. Glad you caught that performance and not the other ones.
    No, I won’t be tempted by TV again, I made that promise to myself, it’s really not worth it (especially not while watching “40 year old virgin…”, very silly comedy, and no, at least I didn’t finish it, too pitiful even for my low standards). But if you have questions about approaching any instrument, ask me, I probably won’t know the answer, but I can give it a try.

  • Josh Rappaport from Harrisburg Pennsylvania

    Mr. Hadelich is going to be playing with the HSO next year, February 2007. Seeing Sunday’s performance with him playing the Mozart Violin Concerto. Thank you so much, Alban, for telling me about you playing with him in a double concerto performance. Can’t wait to see this guy perform with Stuart.


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