Alban's Blog

Haydn in Nashville – bad travelling…

There seems to be some kind of curse on my travelling to the US this year. Already the trip to San Diego was in both direction hindered by missed or cancelled planes. To Utah the same thing, and now I had to fly to Nashville….It started already on the day of my departure. My original flight from Berlin via Frankfurt and Washington was supposed to leave at 2:35 pm on Feb 13. That gave me enough time to practice in the morning, go to my weekly tennis lesson (which I missed already 4 times in a row this year…), shower, pack, lunch with wifee and travel – well, when I got home after tennis at 11:50 am there was a message on my cellphone informing me, that my flight Frankfurt-Washington had been cancelled, the only chance would be to fly via Munich, at 12:50 pm.

At this point I was all sweaty, unpacked and just not ready to leave. Well, I switched the turbo on, and made it to the airport (yes, showered and packed :)) at 12:25 pm, which is early enough for our cute, little Tegel-Airport (one of the advantages living in Berlin – no check-in or security-delays, you are being dropped off right in front of the gates).

So I made it early to Washington only to learn that the connecting flight was cancelled due to a “snow-storm” at Dulles Airport. About 2 inches of snow stopped the entire air traffic in the US capital, how sad is that. Lufthansa put me in a nice hotel half hour away from the airport, next morning was the connecting flight, still early enough to get me to my first rehearsal in Nashville.

No snow, no wind, no nothing, but another cancelled flight – there went my rehearsal. The orchestra was getting nervous, bought me another ticket to leave from National Airport and with almost 18 hours delay I arrived in Nashville, the night before the concert. Instead of going to bed I visited a country music bar and enjoyed it tremendously. I never cared much about country music, but I think in Nashville in a bar like that one has to enjoy it!

Concert yesterday night was great fun, Haydn felt incredibly easy for a change, very strange sensation, and I even sat in the section for the second half to play in this gorgeous new concert hall, some not so exciting piece by P.Glass – very boring cello part. Sometimes composers have no mercy for the musicians – they go for the effect of a piece but don’t care, if it is enjoyable at all to play. Either it’s far too difficult (like the concerto I had to play last summer by this moronic composer PM Schneid), or so easy that you might as well switch instruments within the orchestra to pose some kind of challenge… ๐Ÿ™‚

Will listen to it tonight in the hall, maybe it’s much better in the audience. Very good choir and great singer soloists (Cynthia Haymon, Nathan Berg) plus the wonderful conductor Carl St.Clair who had been named that same day new music director of the Komische Oper Berlin. After the concert we hang out in our hotel (singers, conductor) and ate the most outrageous portion of Nachos I have ever seen. It was almost as big as my dining table at home, it could have fed 10 hungry construction workers, really, unbelievable. No wonder people here are fighting with their weight… Well, at least this forced me to go to the gym this morning, and now I will have to practice some Shostakovich No.2 for next week.


  • gottagopractice

    Hi Alban, glad you made it to your concert. Don’t be too hard on DC. That wasn’t snow, it was mixed snow, ice (hail) and freezing rain. And it was cold enough that any rain froze as it landed, on roads, cars, and airplanes. Then in the morning the added complication of planes that didn’t get in the night before, either because the DC runways were closed or because they were coming from cities hit even harder by the very wide-spread storm. I know it’s fun to grumble about the weather and even more about bureaucratic incompetence, but I am most happy to hear that you traveled safely in spite of the nasty weather. Hearing about the fun in Nashville is a bonus. Happy practicing.

  • Alban

    Yes, I know, you are right, and I wasn’t complaining at all during the trip, just enjoyed the nice hotel in Washington as well as the possibility to see a good old friend the next day – I was just amazed that we were allowed to land while the airport was closed. And thanks for the explanation, because it did look pretty harmless looking out of the window. Wasn’t even that cold to start with. But you are right, most importantly is that I arrived and didn’t get harmed in some icy plane crahs… Well, I still have a chance on my way back tomorrow – –

  • Steve Drake

    Hi Alban – Glad you enjoyed your visit to Nashville! It was great hearing you in the Haydn, and even more fun(?) to have you sitting next to me during the Glass (sorry about that!). Hope to see you again!

  • Alban

    Hi Steve, thanks for your entry, and yes, I loved it in Nashville – just not enough time to also enjoy the country-music-bars. Only went once before our first (and only) rehearsal. I always enjoy immensely sitting in with the orchestra, except this time the piece was so unchallenging that it took some of the joy…
    Best wishes from Berlin to Nashville,


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