12 August 2013
Thrilled to be returning so soon to the North York Moors Chamber Music Festival for a concert of Piano and Winds Quintets by Mozart and Beethoven. Many thanks to Jamie Walton for the invitation and to friends of the festival for their wonderful hospitality.
This turned out to be a rather special concert – and not just for the opportunity to play with colleagues Dan Bates, Gavin Edwards and Ursula Leveaux. This was the inaugural concert for a recently-completed fortepiano by local maker Johannes Secker. The instrument is based on one from south Germany in the 1780s and was completed just up the hill from the magical St Oswald’s church in Lythe. It handled the Mozart and Beethoven pieces in fine fashion and I eagerly await another opportunity to hear it.
Much of June and July is taken up with the Falstaff run at Glyndebourne, but one variation for me is a fascinating weekend conference on Mechanical Musical Instruments held at the Guildhall School and organised by my doctoral student, Emily Baines. Emily’s D.Mus subject looks at what surviving mechanical clocks and barrel organs from the eighteenth century can tell us about principles of ornamentation in the music of Handel and his contemporaries. Her conference attracted delegates from eleven different countries across four continents and was an enormous success. Keynote speakers were the pioneer author on this area, Arthur Ord-Hume and Professor Peter Holman. Emily contributed a magnificent concert featuring her work on ornamentation and gathering together a range of current and past Guildhall students. Altogether a superb event!
19 May 2013
It’s been a few years since I last played with the OAE at Glyndebourne and it’s a great pleasure to be back in this amazing place for the first night in a run of Verdi’s Falstaff conducted by Sir Mark Elder.
Terrific singing and playing by all, with the OAE stepping outside its comfort zone in challenging repertoire for expansive forces – a large-scale operation. I was particularly proud of the way the OAE wind section rose to the challenge – a splendid first night!
25 April 2013
Richard Egarr was on fine form at the fortepiano both as concerto soloist and accompanist in concert arias in this brief trip to Dublin with AAM. It’s rare that clarinettists get to share the stage with the excellent Andreas Scholl, but tonight was an exception as he was standing in for an indisposed Angela Kirschschlager. His standing ovation was well deserved!
23 March 2013
There are few more spectacular locations than Wells Cathedral, where I performed the Mozart Requiem this evening beneath the building’s iconic scissor arches. The event was an opportunity to catch up with an old friend from the Methodist Association of Youth Clubs Orchestra and Choir (all seems so long ago!), Matthew Owens who was conducting on this occasion. Wells always provides an opportunity too for catching up with friends Moyra and Richard Montagu at nearby Parbrook.
The weekend was a perfect blend of work and relaxation and it ended surprisingly: we came back home with a newly-acquired Andrew Garlick harpsichord in the back of the car. Just what we’d been looking for, and the deal was signed, sealed and delivered even before the instrument went up for sale!
28 February 2013
Masterminded by Jamie Savan of His Majesties Sackbutts and Cornetts (and Lecturer in Music at Newcastle University), the Newcastle Early Music Festival adds significantly to existing period-performance offerings in the North East (the Avison Ensemble, for instance). John and I took our McNulty fortepiano on a trip to Newcastle University’s magnificent oak-panelled King’s Hall for a lunchtime concert of works for clarinet and piano by Mozart and Vanhal.
The piano sounded wonderful in such a glorious acoustic, and afterwards we gave a masterclass to music students on woodwind and piano – also a chance to introduce our period instruments to players of their modern equivalents.
9 February 2013
Two masterpieces of the baroque concerto repertoire are for an early cousin of the clarinet, the chalumeau. Typically associated with pastoral imagery in baroque opera and oratorio (Fux, Conti and Vivaldi all wrote for it), the chalumeau’s haunting sounds proved attractive to Fasch and Telemann who both composed concertos for chalumeau and strings.
I performed both works this weekend with Linden Baroque, directed by my colleague from ensemble f2, Steven Devine. In the Telemann, written for two chalumeaux, I was partnered by my student, Sarah Smith, and later in the programme, another of my students, James Brookmyre, joined us in an Ouverture for three chalumeaux and strings by Graupner.
Thanks to Steven for initiating this concert, and hopefully something of a revival for the ‘angelic’ chalumeau!