Return of a giant

Unknown28 August-2 September

A great privilege to be working once again with Sir Roger Norrington whose inspiring work with the OAE stretches back decades. Roger absolutely revels in the sounds and colours that these instruments make and in this programme – toured to Warsaw and Helsinki – the centrepiece was the Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique. Special instruments demanded in this work include E flat clarinet, cor anglais, ophecleides – a feast of musical colour expressing musical emotion laid bare. At least one of the instruments came out of a museum specially for the occasion.

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Lythe

P100035212 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.

Musical Clocks

2GSMDNo125ColourJpeg

June-July 2013

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!

Glyndebourne

JB319 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!

A surprise encounter…

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!

Mozart in Wells

P100039223 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!

Newcastle Early Music Festival

Jhon-and-Jane-238-web28 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.