Updated: Jul 20, 2019
It was with a considerable deal of joy that I played last May 10th 2019 at the Seteais Palace in Sintra, Lisbon - Portugal.
The "Palacio" is set up within the most fantastic frame. Amongst scenic mountains, dressed with beautiful forests and enhanced by the most brilliant views of the Sintra valley, the palace offered a magical and suitable platform for this "settecentesco" Piano Concerto by Joseph Haydn.
The room was just perfect and most probably "historically correct" too. Similar to the rooms Haydn used to compose music for.
Haydn was a court composer for the majority of his life; therefore, his pieces were designed to fill perfectly medium-sized music rooms. The music room at the "Palacio" worked like a "muse" for me. Jean Pillement masterpieces are all around you in this great music rooms. His frescos - which cover all walls and ceilings literally - integrate beautifully with the views; they seem an extension of the exterior in the interior.
The orchestra played very well. It was a challenge to play with just one rehearsal. I'm used to rehearsing a lot with our WKMT orchestra in London. The latter, though smaller, sounds quite spectacular due to the harmony that exists amongst all us, its members. After trying out some sections, we were ready to run through the dress rehearsal.
The director of this fabulous Portuguese orchestra is the maestro Isfan Ceciliu from Rumania. He is a very engaging individual who knows better than anyone how to deal with musicians and their susceptibilities. He was great at making me feel comfortable for the performance.
The Recording and filming team was also excellent. They brought the most amazing audio equipment and they smoothly move around us as ghosts doing his job without disturbing us while we were doing ours.
After the concert, we had a White Tie dinner and party at the main room. The food was astonishingly good and the service impeccable. The waiters did not skimp on compliments to all of us. I even learn some words in Portuguese! I can only recommend Sintra to everyone who wants to visit a dream paradise just around the corner here in Europe.
I believe that as professional musicians, we need to be stimulated regularly with different artistic expressions. Music, architecture, literature, all arts, in general, are social expressions. They feed each other, and they "synaesthetically" bleed into each other. The form of one is stimulated by the new way acquired by the other one and so on.
You can now check the final video of this performance by clicking here.