We had a few great days to wander around Prague. The Christmas lights were up, and the evenings were spectacular. Today (Monday), Jill and I took a cab to the train station to catch a connection to Olomouc (pronounced OH-la-moats). Our train was to leave at 9:29 AM, and we called a cab at 8:20 AM. Nothing arrived until 9:05. I was freaked out as I had a 2 PM rehearsal to make on the opposite end of the country! For those who don’t know me, if I’m not a half hour early, I feel as though I’m an hour late. We made it to the station with ten minutes to spare, but I was an absolute wreck. I was already planning on renting a car to drive to our destination.
During the two-hour train ride, I was looking out the window and started thinking of my home town, Dawson Creek. I haven’t thought of the place in years, but the topography was identical to the Peace River Region where I grew up and I could not help but think of home—in fact Tom’s Lake, a nearby community where I grew up was a Czech settlement that proclaimed itself as “The New Sudeten Land”. After all these years, I’m just understanding the meaning of the epitaph. The only difference here, of course, were the occasional castles that ambled by.
We got to Olomouc, where I faced yet another four-hour rehearsal. The extra pressure now was that I was in the very same hall where Gustav Mahler had his first music director position AND where he wrote his first symphony (The Titan).Y’know…I’ve been studying this stuff all my life, but when you actually experience the context in which all this music was created, it gives you a welcome sense of perspective that no longer has the dusty feel of empty facts gleaned from boring textbooks.
Jill and I ended the day with a home cooked meal with friends of Emil (he is originally from here) and to have that personal connection as strangers in a strange land was simply priceless. Can’t wait to see what happens tomorrow.