While my little family is still sleeping in the hotelroom here in London I am taking the opportunity to do a bit of writing before the gap to my last entry is too long and I broke my promise to write at least twice a month. Normally they are never travelling with me, but since the Royal Albert Hall is one of the most amazing places to play at in the world (and one of the most scary as well – soooo big, and without amplification we feel like little dwarfs in front of far too many people) I thought it would be nice for them to see their father/husband sweat. And sweating they’ve got plenty of to see….After returning from New Zealand I really had it for a while, couldn’t stand touching the cello for a while, so I decided instead of practising and learning the Prokofiev Concerto (recording in 11 days, arghh!) I took a break of more than a weak and spend some quality time with my family who returned shortly after me from their holidays in Puerto Rico (lucky them!). First I played tennis like a maniac, once I stood for 5 hours straight on the clay court of my little tennis club; yes, I have this obsessive nature which doesn’t allow me to stop with something I am into. It can even be something silly like doing taxes or organizing my son’s room – I can go for hours without resting, until the job is done. Maybe this is very German? Well, that’s a completely different subject; the Germans with their “ability” to go to the very end gave us some geniuses like Bach, Goethe, Einstein and many others, but, at least in my eyes, also led to the Holocaust. Quite a jump of thoughts, I know, but try to understand my thoughts: the Germans didn’t invent Antisemitism, but nobody ever has even dreamt of trying to extinguish an entire population with such horribly logic procedure as the Germans did only 65 years ago. So unfortunately this German “virtue” of going with the head through the wall in order to get things done, it applies to good as well as evil.
Why did I get there? Oh yes, I was writing about my self-imposed cello break. Tennis first, then tons of biking around the city with my son, later on we took a canoing-camping trip together with the family of my sister Manon, great fun, just not the greatest of weather. Typical! While being in cold and windy New Zealand they had a wonderful summer in Germany. As soon as I came back, rain and wind hit my home-country, but we didn’t let that harm our joy of having holidays for a week – I packed the kids of my sister and my son into the car and drove to a swimming paradise outside of Berlin with gigantic slides and other fun attractions.
Few days ago I had to start touching the cello again, exactly a day before I flew to Glasgow for my rehearsal with the Scottish BBC and Ilan Volkov for our concert at the Proms last night, again Sinfonia Concertante, but at least I had done the right decision to take my family with me to London in order to also do some sight-seeing, something I never get to do when I am on my own. I had two days in between rehearsal in Glasgow and the concert and we did as many touristy things you could do. Yes, we did the London Eye, this gigantic wheel at the Thames, right next to the Royal Festival Hall where I played my first concert with orchestra in London (in 1998), we took a bus trip around town and also a boat cruise after walking for some time through Hyde Park. It is a glorious city, just a bit too crowded for my taste… 🙂
At 4 pm yesterday I returned a bit earlier from the sight-seeing with my son, slept half hour, got ready (shower, dressing), did a for me very interestingÂ pre-concert talk (with co-guest David Nice, a Prokofiev specialist), went through all of the Sinfonia Concertante in my little dressing room, and then, at about 7:45 pm, I had to enter the Coliseum-like hall, with about 1500 people standing in the parkett. Was I nervous? Yes, indeed, but really more excited than anything else – and once Ilan Volkov got the perfect start with a wonderfully marching speed in the opening bars of the orchestra introduction I knew it would be a good performance and really enjoyed every second of spending on that famous stage, feeling the attention and expectation of this wonderful audience. I can’t wait to come back next year, then with the world premier of Unsuk Chin’s Cello Concerto, which will be more of a challenge…