We had a fantastic rehearsal at the Barbican Hall this morning. The four-hour rehearsal began at 9am and after the late finish the night before, I was glad I had had two doses of caffeine before we started.
Today, Gergiev worked with the string section quite intensively. He put a lot of emphasis on phrasing and colours. In order to create contrasting textures and atmospheres, he constantly reminded the string players to avoid any accents that destroy the phrase line, regardless of the pitch, the length or the technical difficulty of the notes. Every note in the same phrase should be in the same style. To keep this homogeneous sound requires excellent control of both the left hand and the right hand. It also requires superb listening skills.
When every player was communicating with each other, reacting to the harmony the same way at the same time, the orchestra, the conductor and the composer suddenly became one unit, and the emotion that the music was trying to convey was amplified.
Gergiev's approach worked perfectly in the powerful last movement of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, which he interprets as a symbol of Mahler's dying body but strong mind, which transforms the movement into something quite extraordinary. I have a feeling that it is going to be a really good concert under Valery's guidance. Today I have already experienced some spine-tingling moments and firmly believe it will get even better tomorrow!