When I get home it will be autumn. I have left the shiny aubergines behind and here I am again in Salzburg - the city Mozart hated and which treated him like shit, which now ‘celebrates’ him by selling sickly balls called Mozart Kugeln in even the cheapest supermarket. Telephone rings overheard range from Eine Kleine Nachmusik to the Queen of the Night. Poor sod.
It is also the city of the late Sandor Vegh. Andras Schiff lives here. Steven Isserlis I missed by twelve hours, and Simon Rattle is walking around as I speak……
As we go to our first rehearsal we wade through a glinting convoy of BMW’s dropping off the silk dirndled audience for the premiere of Cosi. In our break the chauffeurs hold cigarettes between their gloved fingers while they wait the three and a half hours plus cocktail of their clients’ entertainment.
The bike rental guy moans as I get out my festival pass for a discount:
“Sheiss Festspeil takes all the money and I earn nothing”
I tried to tell him in my ancient German that I understood but he would probably not believe that we are being put up for two weeks in a hotel worse than the student digs of last year; that we are not paid on the 6 of 12 of the days because we don’t have a performance; that we are not invited to the first night party…all of which whilst our conductor resides in a palace.
We – the orchestra - are with the bike rental guy and the chauffeurs, not the musicians. We are second class citizens.
The ‘AllYouNeed’ hotel is in noweheresgasse; The word ‘All’ is to be understood as ‘only that which’ rather than ‘everything’. Even then they are pushing it. The motto underneath the title is ‘Everything Else is Luxury’. My room stinks of smoke and looks out not on the Salzach or the verdant hills alive with music but on a Boss men’s underwear advert. However, there is a wonderful little organic café serving simple Indian vegetarian meals to which I escape every day. There Austrians, French, English and Americans, businessmen, musicians and workshop leaders greet each other saying “namaste” and I know that we have all travelled further than these hills and that there I am both welcome and nourished.