After a very long flight from Seattle to San Francisco to Los Angeles to Moscow, ODEONQUARTET finally arrived in Russia on a rainy Tuesday. We had time the next day before our rehearsal to take the Metro to Red Square and see the incomprehensibly huge square and its famous Basilica as well as the Kremlin. Probably on account of the rain, there was no line to get into Lenin’s mausoleum, so we took the opportunity to view the preserved and rather waxy-looking remains of the revolutionary leader in leisurely fashion. We had heard it would normally involve hours of waiting and we therefore hadn’t counted on visiting Mr. Lenin, but we were glad to have had the opportunity as it rated very high on he strangeness scale.
Following an afternoon of practice and much-needed rest, Pavel Karmanov, composer of three of the works we’ll perform on Friday, came to pick us up at our hotel to drive us to the Moscow Conservatory for rehearsal with our pianist. We had the chance to experience Moscow traffic at dinner hour – evidently there is no such thing as rush hour, the streets are generally packed except in the middle of the night – and arrived at our destination (about 2 miles away) in a brisk 35 minutes or so.
We didn’t know what to expect from pianist Peter Aidu, who is performing Karmanov’s two piano quintets with us, as we’d heard he’d only received the music recently, and we were absolutely delighted with his brilliant playing. In a nice coincidence, after finishing our rehearsal, we went to look at the concert hall and ran into none other than Ivan Sokolov, known to many Seattleites from his collaborations with the Seattle Chamber Players, most recently at On The Boards in February where he premiered a new work with cellist David Sabee. The music world is truly small and is was wonderful to see him on the other side of the planet. Vanya had a complex array of percussion instruments laid out on the stage of the concert hall for his percussion composition that will be premiered tomorrow night. Sadly we’ll miss it as we have our own performance at the House of Music at the same time. Our program will feature the Russian premiere (amazingly, since it was written in 1991) of Philip Glass’ Quartet No. 5, Marcelo Zarvos’ “Nepomuk’s Dances” and Osvaldo Golijov’s stirring “Tenebrae”.
Our Moscow Conservatory performance featuring Pavel Karmanov’s three works will be on Friday evening.