Salzburg Festival Blog 29 (23 Aug)

Free day! I listen to a little of Robin Ticciati’s superb matinee with my Mozarteum live on the Austrian 1st programme. Like myself (and Sir Roger Norrington before me) Robin is a graduate of Clare College Cambridge. We are all proud of the musical output of this small Cambridge College, in which all subjects are studied, not just music. The college has Nobel Prize-winning scientists amongst its Fellowship and other musicians emanating from its doors in recent years include harpsichordist Richard Egarr, director Andrew Manze and OAE concert master Margaret Faultless. There is of course the world-famous Clare College Choir, who have appeared three times at the Salzburg Festival in recent years.

After lunch, I read in the Aigen garden, today it’s Michel Houllebecq’s fast-paced and hard-hitting ‘Platforme’. He is a brilliant writer who apparently offended Muslim extremists in this novel. But then many things seem to offend such people – even music.

I have a lovely relaxing lunch with Dominique Meyer, the new Intendant of the Vienna State Opera from 2010. We discuss our forthcoming projects together for that company but mainly discuss music and little known operatic gems. The breadth of his knowledge is quite extraordinary. A glance at his programming over the last ten years at the Champs Elysee Theatre in Paris is proof of this.

After this I cycle in to the Orchesterhaus for the Mozarteum orchestra’s summer party. It is a joyful occasion, with one week of the Festival to go some players work-load is winding down. Thomas Graeff has prepared a great barbecue, beer is plentiful and Markus Tomasi has made fine and prudent choices of wines. All generations are there, from veteran players retired from the orchestra, who seem very proud of their young successors, to the young children of our current members. Nearly all the orchestra is there and the terrific atmosphere bears witness to the tremendous morale and commitment of our orchestra.

I leave at 11pm but I hear that this party went on till the small hours.