Sweden: quarterfinal part 1

What a strange day... I ended up waking up around 12:30 this morning and not being able to fall asleep again until nearly 5. When my alarm went off at 8:30 I barely had a coherent thought in my head. I considered skipping breakfast but couldn't go back to sleep. I guess this is what they call jet lag... So I got visit with a few other participants and one of the organizers. From this I learned that they are closing the Swedish choral center, riksconcerter, due to a withdrawal of government funding. How sad. I guess I had assumed European arts organization had funding as a matter of course. Helen said that other organizations would pick up the responsibilities, but they certainly had been the central organizers of this competition.

They held the opening meet and greet last night. I have realized that I had already met two participants in Vienna (and two judges, one when i was here in 2003 and one when I auditioned at her school in 2000). But for some reason I was a little shy. We were introduced to everyone formally in the middle of the festivities for the drawing. So of the 14 pieces for the quarterfinal everyone conducts 4, two required of everyone and two drawn out of literal hats (provided proudly by Stefan Parkman).

Today I conducted Furchte dich nicht by Sven-David Sandstrom and the Trois Chansons of Jean Martinon. Neither piece has been recorded to my knowledge, and it was hard to know what to expect. I particularly had fears about both of these pieces: the extreme effects/tempi in one and the quasi-surrealist poetry of the other. And I can't really evaluate how it went. yesterday we were told to conduct only the first half of the Sandstrom, and that we should be prepared to take it under tempo. I was told, while entering the room, that the chorus was really most familiar with the second chanson and it might be best to begin with it. These were definitely adjustments. I feel a less than confident that I had the choir with me (but this does not seem to be unique to me). I basically tried to insist on only a few ideas (and only those fixable at the time and under the circumstances). We'll have to see how tomorrow goes. I'm hoping for more sleep in order to be ready for two works in Swedish.