I only get to see the Maestro in those last few days before I fly off to another city and book into another reasonably priced hotel and start work again. Most of our communication is done by voice mail to each others mobiles. That is about the limit of the Maestro's technological skills,, forget e-mails, video conferences or even texts, those are beyond him. So I'm used to his short, terse messages left for me while I sleep and usually have no problem with them.
For the past month I have been in London, living in the Swiss Cottage Holiday Inn about a mile from the studios. When it has not been raining it has been a pleasant walk and crossing the 'Beatles Zebra Crossing' into Abbey Road Studios has brightened up my mornings. I share the corner of a desk in the studios with some of the record companies staff. Lunches in the studios bar-cum-restaurant are interesting as quite a few famous faces drop in there for meetings with producers and other musicians.
About two weeks before recording was planned to start I got a short voice-mail from the Maestro, as he was in Tokyo the time difference made that the simplest way to keep in touch. All I heard was a name and that he wanted them for the London session. I did not recognise the name so had to start trawling through agent's online databases to identify the individual, no joy! I resorted to calling agents and friends to see if I could track the person down. With about a week to go I was getting desperate and started looking on Facebook and even Googling the name. The problem was there were several performers of that name but most were not from the classical music genre.
Just two days before the Maestro was due to arrive I managed to find a performer of the right name with classical training and contacted her. She seemed very surprised that the Maestro had asked for her and delighted when I mentioned what her fees would be. I quickly booked her train tickets and a hotel room at the Holiday Inn and sighed a huge sigh of relief.
On the morning of first rehearsals we both walked to the studios and I took her to the rehearsal room. The Maestro was already there, leafing through his score and welcomed me warmly. I introduced the performer to the Maestro and a baffled look came over his face. He looked at me and then the performer and started laughing. I had to ask him to explain what was so funny. When he did explain by pointing to a section of the score where it detailed the instruments required for the piece I felt like trying to sink through the floor in embarrassment. The performer was disappointed that she would not be part of the recording but even she laughed, eventually. The Maestro insisted that she should be paid for her time and trouble and left it to me to fill out the cheque. 'Pay to the order of Miss Amanda Lynn …'