Day 3: Introduction (and an obvious pun)

The action today moves to the Barbican concert hall, and it’s the full might of the London Symphony Orchestra who will confront our plucky young conductors this morning.

With half an hour or so to go before rehearsals begin, I’ve seen one of them wandering about the Barbican foyer looking rather nonplussed by it all. I don’t suppose the others are far behind.

Time for a quick preview of today’s events. There are two rehearsal sessions during which each conductor gets 40 minutes to prepare their set music for tonight’s concert. On the programme: Beethoven’s Egmont overture, which each conductor will perform, then Stravinsky’s Symphony in Three Movements (a movement each) and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade. The learned among you will have noticed that that is a four-movement piece, so one conductor has been allocated movements two and three, while the others take the first and last.

My understanding is that the conductors have a pretty free rein over what they do with their rehearsal time, so it’s up to them to figure out how much time to devote to each work. Will they be tempted to leave minimal time for the overture, on the basis that everyone knows it and not wanting to try the orchestra’s patience (they could, for instance, end up spending an hour and a half of the day playing it)? Or will that leave them with Egmont all over their face?

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