Bass Blog

Michael Hovnanian plays bass in an orchestra located in a large midwestern city.

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Tuesday – Travel from Munich to Paris, concert in Paris; Wednesday – concert in Paris

A small note on traveling with the orchestra; it may seem obvious, but boarding a plane with a group of people who all know each other has certain drawbacks. Before taking seats old friends, some of whom have lost touch with each other since breakfast, need to exchange warm greetings or catch up on the news while blockading the aisle. Finding enough overhead storage space for all the instruments carried onboard takes extra time as well. And then there are the flagrant violators of the carryon baggage limits…

In spite of the usual minor irritants, the flight to Paris went smoothly, and then it was into the city by train to my separate hotel – anything to avoid getting on another bus is worth it by this point in the tour.

The Salle Pleyel is an unattractive auditorium, at least on the inside. I never did find the front door. Every sound from the smallest cough to the errant mute clanking to the ground seemed amplified. After the staid, almost disinterested German audiences, the French were boisterous in reaction to both our concerts. Bunches of (very wet looking) flowers were lobbed onstage, bonking a few violinists.

After the concerts it was enjoyable taking the Metro across town to my hotel, observing Parisians going about their late-evening business. On Wednesday while waiting for the train, somebody who must have been at our concert did an elaborate and hilarious parody of a conductor’s mannerisms (Muti?) on the platform.

Playing two concerts in the same city seems like a luxury on this tour, where five or six of the nine concerts are preceded by travel. Pity none of the Italian cities could take us for more than one performance.

2 comments:

phil giampietro said...

I'm not sure if anyone has asked about this before, but how does the rest of the orchestra take towards you staying in seperate hotels? Do they understand why you do it, or do you think they dissaprove? Maybe it isn't a big deal at all and I'm just imagining that it would be. I know that I would want a buffer zone now and then...

Michael Hovnanian said...

Sorry if I gave the impression that I am alone in staying at a different hotel now and then. A fair number of players do it, and for different reasons. I know for a fact that some players do it in order to have some separation from the group.