Parallel Lives – musician and VIP

As usual, I tried to pack in as much music as possible into my Berlin weekend. On Saturday, I was at my band’s studio for a songwriting/jamming session after the long summer break while I was teaching at SGI. We can’t do a regular weekly rehearsal because the singer is a cargo pilot and he flies around the world every couple of weeks. So, when he is in town we have to really practise hard in that window of opportunity. However, there were only 3 of us there on Saturday: one on guitar/keyboards, one on bass, which meant that I had to play drums – I love it!!! We played for about 6 hours (with a few beer breaks) until my left hand had 3 massive blisters. I taped up my fingers with electrician’s tape and we carried on until we were exhausted. I don’t think that we achieved that much in terms of new song ideas, but it was good to just let rip after the summer hiatus. On Sunday night, I was invited by the Slovakian Ambassador (a personal friend of mine!) to see the Berlin Sympony Orchestra for a night of “The Pearls of Russian Music”. It was a VIP event, of course, so I got dressed up in my black tie (very James Bond) and mingled among the crowd, which was packed full of Russians. I was expecting a program of classical hits from Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov and Prokofiev etc (just like the rest of the audience, I think), but it was mostly from 20th Century composers. So actually, most of the music sounded like a movie soundtrack. However, the conductor was Arkady Berin, who is extremely flamboyant and the pianist was Fedor Amirov, who is clearly nuts. So, all in all, it was quite entertaining. In the end, they finally played a very famous, crowd-pleasing piece. It was one of those tunes that everybody knows with a killer ending: The 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky. Maybe you’re not into classical music, but if you heard ‘The 1812’, you would definitely know it and you couldn’t fail to be impressed by a full orchestra blasting out that grand finale!

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