Archived News for October 2010
06 Oct 2010
It was great to see the Oak Room in High Wycombe (acoustically delightful, presumably because of all the oak!) packed out for our lunchtime recital as part of the Wooburn Festival. It was lovely to reprise music by Handel and Sinding with the Reid sisters (associated by all three of us with the freezing cold from playing these pieces in icy venues during last January's snowy season!). Of particular interest however was our world première of Jonathan Galton's The Awakening. Over the years we have discovered a range of sometimes well-known but often obscure pieces for two violins and piano, so it was brilliant to commission and perform this newest addition to the repertoire, and indeed to work through it with the composer, for once actually able to ask the question all musicians so often want to ask long-dead composers: "what exactly to you mean by what you’ve written?!".
10 Oct 2010
It was a delight to perform Schumann's Piano Quintet with the Hampden Quartet this weekend. For me this piece (and perhaps especially its haunting slow movement) encapsulates the whole character of Schumann more completely and succinctly than any other – the deeply troubled soul, yet so capable of joy and love. It was a rare delight to perform this in the 'chamber' setting for which it was intended; Emile Woolf hosts several concerts a year in his beautiful drawing room (using his superb Steinway, one of their concert hire instruments last century and apparently Rachaninov's instrument of choice for his own performances in London!). We were delighted to hear that a hefty cheque was sent to Maxability Limited, the charitable company that raises money to enhance the lives of disabled adults living in the London Borough of Barnet, by providing tuition in art, pottery, computing skills and holding exhibitions of their work.
22 Oct 2010
Two weeks into production rehearsals for Royal Academy Opera's Così Fan Tutte, it is shaping up to be a wonderful show. There are two superb casts and it is a privilege to be learning from the experts in working with John Cox (director) and Jane Glover (conductor). A little research quickly shows how many Cosìs they have done between them and how many stars have been involved; here's hoping this new production maintains their standards! It is exciting not only to be repping and coaching on this production but also to be playing the recitative when we get to the shows themselves…
24 Oct 2010
What a wonderful weekend at the Oxford Lieder Festival! It was an absolute delight to be back at my old stomping ground (I was heavily involved with the admin of the festival in its earlier days when I was in Oxford - a real eye-opener to the way such things run, and a truly formative experience in terms of living and breathing the song repertoire!). It was an inspiration this weekend to see Stefan Loges, James Gilchrist, Anna Grevelius, Sophie Daneman and festival director Sholto Kynoch performing Wolf's complete Mörike-Lieder - a rare treat and quite superlatively done. Well done to all the team there – this is a truly fantastic project, and now so firmly established as one of Europe's top centres of song. The festival runs until next weekend so head over to the Holywell Music Room if you find yourself in Oxford!
27 Oct 2010
Back in Oxford yesterday for a composition workshop held as part of the Oxford Lieder Festival. Mezzo-soprano Ciara Hendrick and I had two days to learn half a dozen new songs composed by current music students at Oxford University as part of their composition portfolios, and we then workshopped these compositions in a two-hour session led by Dr Martin Harry. Well done to all six composers on some very accomplished and promising compositions: Nick Barstow (Song for a Nightmare), Huw Catchpole-Davies (Traversing the Centuries), Tom Chevis (The Small Brown Nun), David Hughes (Elegy XX – To His Mistress Going To Bed), Piers Kennedy (The Love of God), Stephanie MacGillivray (The Unknown Bird). What a joy to see good new song composition taking place! This event was an excellent addition to the already impressive OLF calendar this year.