It probably was the most challenging week I‘ve experienced so far...everything seemed to happen at once...after our concert at Semmering it continued non stop...from our final recording session of Schubert‘s Winter Journey to rehearsals with the incredible Soloists leading up to these two concerts at the Porgy & Bess. I got to the Porgy at around 5:30 pm and I had no idea that I was about to walk down into a steamy hot hot Porgy, „we‘re having a heat wave, a tropical heat wave“ !!!It turned out that something was wrong with the air conditioning system and the temperature was around 35 degrees!!!It was crazy!!!I couldn‘t believe that the rythm section was already ready : ) to play, including one of our five wonderful soloists of the night, Fabio Devigili (I am so sorry for not being able to pronounce your name three times : ), thank you for your soulful solo over „Le secret du bleu“!!!). We did what we had to do : ) and kept on going. During our steamy sound check all of the evening‘s soloists showed up. Harry Sokal, Wolfgang Puschnig, Robert Bachner and Fabian Rucker. Christoph Burgstaller was our sound engineer of the night and he is also the one who was taking care of us and our Schubert recording over the last few years!!!And as he knows each of us inside and out, we had an incredible sound on stage and felt really comfortable...sweating all over but hearing really well : )!Thank you Christoph for these last years and this night : )!
I think it was the first time that we played two sets at the Porgy and our first set was full of songs that mathias wrote for the one and only Vienna Art Orchestra and its soloists. We started our night with Robert Bachner on the valve trombone and the song „Voltaire – La bibliotheque immaginaire“, thank you Robert for your incredible warm, smooth and beautiful solo!!!Robert was followed by someone who was part of the Orchestra from the very beginning, Mister Harry Sokal and I had the pleasure to share the stage with him four times during our VAO set with songs including „Music is a very personal thing, strictly individual“(quote by Thad Jones), Ava Gardner – The gardener of unrealized wishes (Ingridiii you were incredible : )!!!), „Insecurity is the secret of eternal youth“ (quote by Gil Evans) and Josephine Baker (Hans, what a solo : ) woohoo )– She need never regret. Thank you Harry for your lyrical and powerful soli, it was a pleasure standing next to you (also, I loved your suit : ) )!In the middle of the set we had Wolfgang Puschnig hitting the stage with his mindblowing pink outfit and his exceptional sound that he layed over „Innocence of cliches“ . mathias had written this tune for him in 1989. Thank you dear Wolfi for your incredible energy and your hypnotizing solo!!!Wham bam thank you Mister : )! I already mentioned Fabio Devigili - and the man who draw our attention to this young talent is the one man who was also part of the original saxofon section of the Vienna Art orchestra: Roman Schwaller : )!!!Before the concert there was a special moment backstage when we noticed that the original section was reunited and of course we made pictures of this special moment : )! For me it was wonderful gift to get a tiny glimpse into what the energy of the vao was like, to get to know some of their members and even more get to play with them. It was inspiring in many ways and I am very grateful!!!Thank you once more!!!
Our second set on the first night was Schubert‘s and Müller‘s Winter Journey and our soloist, who else could it be : ), was Fabian Rucker! In a way I think, we all got kind of used to the heat, I think I even started to enjoy it a little bit : ) and I was so very happy to see that the audience came back after the break, no matter what, back into the heat of the night and again created an encouraging atmosphere that kept us going til the end!!!Fab, „Im Dorfe“ was unbelievable!!!I had a big smile on my face when I slowly walked down the stairs to sit down backstage, enjoying these special 3 minutes after a concert like this, where everything gets quiet, where I just sit and breathe...I cannot even begin to explain how good the first sip of my cold cold beer tasted that night : )!
DAY 2 - 28.7.2016
I woke up feeling as if I had run three marathons...exhausted all the way...but now was not the time to rest : ). We had another night at the Porgy ahead of us with exceptional soloists like Herwig Gradischnig and Mario Rom!!! We soon got good news that the air conditioning was fixed and the temperature was back to normal. On day 2 Thomas Egger was our sound engineer and took care of of us in the wonderful way he always does!(that reminds me, I was using a different microphone during our Porgy nights, AKG and I have to say, I looooved it!!!)
Once more we were doing two sets, again one with Art Orchestra tunes and one with songs of „my poet‘s love“.
We started the night with oh yesssss Herwig Gradischnig on baritone saxophone and it‘s true when I say that he has the most wonderful sound you can imagine : )!!!Hank and Mario shared the first set and I had the absolute pleasure experiencing them taking turns on stage hearing their soli right next to me. I think mathias was veeery happy to hear all these songs once more coming back to the here and now through musicians like those two. At least I saw him smiling a couple of times : ), so I‘m guessing the chief was happy : )!Thank you Hank for being part of this night and playing your keen and marvelous soli within these songs!!! Ingrid and Hans, I also want to thank the two of you once more right here for your time and energy in all the rehearsals before and for playing with such colourful intensity during every single song and every single night!!!
We had a good first set and after a short break we were back on stage with songs of „my poet‘s love“ and Mario Rom on trumpet. Ohhhh Mariooooooo : ) thank you so much, your uncompromising dedication to every note is so very inspiring and beautiful. The Porgy was much much cooler on the second night but the audience was as warm as the night before : ) thank you to everyone for coming out and supporting us with their open ears and hearts...and a special thank you to those who came two nights in row, I haven‘t forgotten that I still owe each of you a beer or a glass of wine, whatever you like : ), one day we have to do it!!!I am truly grateful for your support!!!During our second set I realized that this crazy wonderful week is coming to an end and that I not just survived it but that I felt alive : )! And last but not least, thank you mathias for putting this night together and giving me the chance to experience parts of your history : )and sing your songs and for always giving it everything you have, always trusting the music and the musician!
What a journey...summer break is on...at least for the next week : ), sincerely yours Lia!
P.S.: Thank you Bert Müller for your support and the wonderful live pictures : )!