On Saturday 27th January 2007, we assembled in the coldest church in England (the heating was broken) and played some Brahms:

Piano Concerto No. 1
Requiem (no choir - Suzy and her amazing four-voiced piano sounded better)
Tragic Overture
Academic Festival Overture
All four symphonies
St. Anthony (Haydn) Variations
Violin Concerto
Double Concerto

Total playing time: 6 hours 20 minutes (give or take)

The plan for this musical marathon was to perform all of Brahms' orchestral works in one day. As it turned out, no soloist could be found for the Second Piano Concerto, and so the Requiem was substituted. As far as we are aware, the Brahmsathon was a unique musical event, and one fit only for the most dedicated and/or foolhardy players. Phoenix is proud to have so many of these...

The object was to raise funds for two worthwhile causes. One was the orchestra itelf, to help secure its future and its ability to continue to perform in some of London's most prestigious venues. The other was Jessie's Fund, a UK charity helping seriously ill and disabled children by using music as a form of communication and for therapy.

The original goal was to raise £5000 from the event to be split evenly between the two charities; in the end we were delighted to have secured £9500, thanks to all our many generous donors and sponsors who helped us to meet and then considerably exceed the target.

Thanks are also due to: Masa, Mike, Warren, Kate and Richard for being excellent guest soloists ad conductor. Big thanks to Lev for his accomplished wrist action, conducting a total of 9117 bars! And thanks to all the devoted Phoenix players who made this wonderful event happen (and loved it so much that they are now lobbying hard for a Tchaikathon.

It was an act of certifiable lunacy, of course, and we were all freezing and exhausted afterwards, but it was worth it. Wasn't it? of course it was!