At the start of the day I really couldn’t have told you which way the result would go – who would second guess a competition jury when the candidates all had grounds for optimism? Of course, that’s exactly what I tried yesterday when it came to predicting which three conductors would progress from round two. But perhaps it’s significant that the one person over whom the jury and I were in agreement turned out to be the eventual winner. That’s what I’m telling myself, anyway!
But Jiri Rozen wanted to tie up some loose ends with Scheherazade first – by the looks of it he spent the time after his morning appearance figuring out exactly which passages he felt most uncertain about, or that were the most liable to trip him up later, because he focused specifically on those moments and not simply playing through long stretches of music again.
I think conductors like it, mind. Bar after bar of sweeping music to get stuck into, summoning one surge after another and few banana skins on the way. It suits Mihhail Gerts to the ground, and he spent part of his morning session playing through the movement without stopping. The last movement of the Stravinsky Symphony in Three Movements, although very different in character suits him too.