The lights went out today on a Mahler-sized orchestra …

Conductor Antony Hermus writes:

What to do when you are rehearsing MAHLERs gigantic SEVENTH with the fabulous NORTH NETHERLANDS ORCHESTRA – for concerts in Leeuwarden and Groningen from tomorrow on – and there is suddenly a POWER FAILURE in the whole building…? During playing this “NACHTMUSIK” ALL lights switch off, the hall completely PITCH-DARK…

And then this happens…: ❤️

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  • I saw the power fail and the lights go out at SPAC a few years ago when Stéphane Denève was conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra in Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Symphony. The orchestra stopped after a few seconds and Maestro Denève said to the audience “The orchestra plays the music with heart, but doesn’t know it by heart.” Power was restored soon and they finished the symphony. I also was at a Vermont Symphony concert that had to be cancelled because of a power failure.

  • In 2011 I was playing with an orchestra for the 50th anniversary of the Parkes Observatory 64m radio telescope, familiarly known in Australia as ‘The Dish’ from the popular movie of the same name. It’s a long way from anywhere, with no offence meant to the town of Parkes, so generators were brought in for power supply to the event. The programme concluded quite late in the evening with a stand-alone performance of Jupiter, from The Planets. All going well until in the next paddock, and far too close, the fireworks started. These weren’t your Guy Fawkes night fireworks, these were huge things, done by the company that lights up Sydney Harbour on NYE. And the resulting concussion wave from the first batch of fireworks knocked out the generators. All the lights went out, including orchestra, apart from a few who had brought their own stand lights. I could hear the poor stage manager yelling into his intercom “get me power, get me light, get me torches!”
    A couple of slightly shaky bars, and the music stabilised, and we all played on to the end without further mishap. At which point the generators restarted.

  • I heard the Philadelphia Orchestra playing Daphnis on tour in an outdoor pavilion during a raging storm. There was a power outage and they kept playing flawlessly in the dark until the lights came back on.

  • Why when something like this gets posted can’t folks just comment on it without it turning into … anything you can do I can do better! It’s like a competition suddenly. FFS! Just post a reaction and stop trying to show off who’s got the biggest or best ****

    • Jimbo, this is so lovely! And every musician has memories that are almost the same or much alike. It is not a competition, it is just sharing treasured memories!

  • The same thing happened at the BBC Proms a few years back with Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, who played on in total darkness whilst Jansons had a spotlight on him. At the Proms they always make sure the conductor’s spot is on a separate circuit.

  • I love this! It reminds me of what happened to the Radio Filharmonic Orchestra in Hilversum when they were rehearsing with the wonderful (late) Jean Fournet. There also the lights went out ….. and the orchestra that knew their parts quite well by now played on!. Then the lights went on again and guess what? Jean Fournet was still conducting………………..

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