There is a kind of extra thrill jumping in for a colleague, especially when it involves an almost 30 hour flight schedule, 17.000 k travel. That certainly gives you enough time to prepare a new score (really beautiful piece by Hosokawa in this case). Sleeping on a flight never really works anyway.
Totally absurd to travel 3 days - spend 3 days in Hobart, Tasmania - do one concert and fly back home. But, if that means conducting probably the best work of the 20th century (Ravel's pianoconcerto in G) with one of my dearest orchestras (Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra), no second of doubt.
Lucky me my wife makes these escapades possible by taking care of everything back home. Even when it sadly also means missing out on the birthday treat my youngest son made to hand out in school (see photo).
To conduct a program unexpectedly and at really short notice demands a certain focus. Like suddenly finding yourself in a Ferrari for the first time and trying out how fast it can accelerate. In some mysterious way it gives a special kind of freedom to the music making for both orchestra and conductor. Everyone is fully committed, concentrated and prepared to take certain risks that can create a very special and exciting concert. It’s a bit like the first percussion bang of Ravel’s concerto, the starting pistol that marks the initial explosion of a race without exactly knowing the precise route.