Concert today with Dame Emma Kirkby! Sat 28th Sept, 7pm, Holy Trinity Church, St Andrews
Come along to Holy Trinity Church tonight at 7pm for a baroque and classical feast of choral music to celebrate Tom Duncan’s 50th year as organist and choir-master of Holy Trinity Church! With Dame Emma Kirkby, soprano and Ben McAteer, baritone (and me playing viola as part of the Heisenberg Ensemble!)
Mozart – Laudate Dominum
Palestrina – Alma Redemptoris Mater
Handel – The King Shall Rejoice
Bach – Suite in B minor (for flute and orchestra, solo Julie Duncan)
Gibbons – O Clap Your Hands
Heisenberg Ensemble and The Celebration Chorus, conducted by Gillian Craig
Tickets £10 on the door or by calling 01334 478317
On Sunday 17th March at 7.30pm in Holy Trinity Church, St Andrews, St Patrick’s Ensemble will perform The Seven Last Words of Our Saviour on the Cross by Joseph Haydn. The work is a moving reflection on the ‘Seven Last Words’ and will be performed in Haydn’s own arrangement for string quartet. The movements will be interspersed with readings of the ‘Words’ and spoken reflections.
The quartet will consist of Paul Livingston and Daniel Rainey, violins, Jessica Wyatt, viola, and Robert Anderson, cello – all outstanding young players who have studied in Scotland as well and internationally. Based in Glasgow, the St Patrick’s Ensemble has performed throughout Scotland, including performances of the Vivaldi Four Seasons at the Usher Hall, and an evening of chamber music by James MacMillan at Glasgow University, introduced by the composer.
This promises to be a reflective and moving concert in a beautiful and atmospheric church, ideal for the Easter season. Tickets are priced at £10 (£8 concessions) and will be available at the door. Please encourage friends and relatives to attend!
Lately I’ve been working really hard preparing for a couple of lunchtime recitals that are coming up soon. As before, I’m playing with Audrey Innes, a pianist who teaches at St Andrews Music Centre and with whom I have played for a number of years – I hesitate to call her my duo partner, as she regularly plays with many others and is in high demand.
Anyway, this time we’re playing a programme of Schumann’s beautifully lyrical Adagio and Allegro (originally written for horn), paired with the fiery and powerful viola sonata Op 11 No 4 by Hindemith (himself a viola player). These are both highly romantic works, with the Schumann written in 1849 and the Hindemith in 1919 but displaying many backward looking features as well as forward looking ones such as whole tone scales.
This is the first time that I am doing more than one recital of the same programme – I don’t want to call it a series, as it is only 2 concerts, but still! It is also the first time that I will have one of my concerts recorded professionally – the father of one of my pupils is a recording engineer, and he has kindly offered to bring some of his students over to record the St Andrews concert, which is very exciting but a little nerve wracking!
Here are the details of the 2 concerts:
Weds 27th Feb at 1.10pm (not 1.15pm as it used to be) in the Younger Hall, North St, St Andrews- details here although the start time is wrong
Friday 8th March at 1.20pm in Dundee University Chaplaincy – details here
Over the weekend came the awful news that the Byre Theatre in St Andrews is facing closure due to lack of funds (its funding had been cut by Creative Scotland in 2010, and a refurbishment in 2001 left it struggling financially). The Byre is a cultural hub for not only St Andrews but the surrounding areas of Fife and to see it go would be tragic and a total waste – not only of talent but of a very beautiful building that stands out among the old buildings of south street.
My friend the artist and photographer Gillian Gamble (who else?) has started an incredibly successful grassroots community movement to save the Byre, which has gone from nothing to 4000 supporters on facebook and national news coverage overnight. Have a look and click ‘like’ here:
I still can’t believe we’re in 2013! It all sounds so space age…
I’ve started my new job and it’s going well – I am learning a lot about obesity and literature searching, and I have discovered the joys of Endnote and never having to write out a reference again! Academics and essay writers take note: Endnote or a similar referencing manager (there are free ones) will save you literally hours of tedious referencing and bibliography writing. (I sound like they are paying me to advertise them, which they are not!) Anyway, I think I will really enjoy my work at the medical school, even though it is quite weird being a ‘staff’ member where I used to be a student (I’m now in a different dept though, so not as weird).
One of the brilliant things about my job is that it it so flexible, which allows me to continue teaching and playing in stuff while still doing the work I need to do. This year, I have resolved to do more playing, especially chamber music, so with that in mind I have arranged a trio with some friends which I hope will work out really nicely. Other things I am doing this year are:
I will start going to the baroque orchestra at the St Andrews Music Centre, run by my good friend and amazing cellist Claire Garabedian; I think I will get to borrow a baroque bow which will be fun!
I’ll continue helping out at StAFCO (St Andrews and Fife Community Orchestra), taking occasional sectionals
I have two lunchtime concerts coming up in February and March, both with experienced pianist Audrey Innes who I have played many a concert with! For both concerts, we are playing a programme consisting of Hindemith viola sonata Op 11 No 4 which is very romantic and fantastical as well as being incredibly dramatic and a huge piece to play, combined with a short piece by Frank Bridge (also a viola player) and Schumann’s Adagio and Allegro (originally a horn piece), a real gem of a piece. The concert in St Andrews is Weds Feb 27th at 1.10pm in the Younger Hall (note 5 mins earlier start time), and the concert in Dundee is on Friday 8th March at 1.20pm in the University Chaplaincy.
Along with a friend, we are trying to organise concerts in St Andrews and at a stately home near Broughty Ferry of Haydn’s Seven Last Words for string quartet, to coincide with Lent. Hopefully we can confirm these soon.
Of course, I’ll continue with my teaching. I’ve got a new pupil (an adult learner interested in fiddle) starting on friday!
Monty is still being incredibly sweet – he’s dozing on my lap, purring contentedly. His latest trick is to attack packets of loo roll, creating a large amount of mess and very holey loo roll, but he seems to think he is saving us from a terrible tissue monster…
This evening I went to hear some of my fellow masters students’ work at PLUG VII: Electroacoustic Event. PLUG is a 5 day music festival at RSAMD which showcases the work of composers at the Academy, with the pieces being performed by Academy students and professional musicians. My friend Matthew Whiteside’s piece Dichroic Light for solo cello and live electronics was premiered by a friend of mine, Lydia Whittingham, as well as pieces by Daniel de Gruchy Lambert (trumpet), James Hodges (bassoon), Nikola Kyosev (flute/piccolo), Tim Cooper (with Helen Douthwaite, sackbut) and Jonathan Wettermark (trombone).
Some quick notes on what I heard and issues raised by the performances:
The contemporary definitions of “music”, “performance art”, “organised sound” and the grey area between them. What makes a given piece “music” and another simply sampled sounds in rhythms? (with respect to Tim Cooper’s work The Sound of Letters, the Voice of the Page)
The relative success of composers writing for instruments that they don’t play themselves, versus the success of compositions by composers who are writing for their own instruments and performing their own compositions* – instrumentalists know their own capabilities and strengths and the limits of their instruments better than those who don’t play them, and can therefore write very idomatically (wrt Nikola Kysosev’s virtuosic piece ‘Mind Cell’)
Some of the techniques that I identified were:
Distortion/reverb/delay/multiphonics/sound and vocal sampling/voices/ambient sound/pedal switches/feedback loops/multitracking
I really enjoyed what I am going to call the ‘alternative listening experience’ of the concert – the stage was covered in microphones, laptops, wires, gadgets and a myriad of speakers on tall wooden stands, giving it a very different feel to normal concert platforms. I sat behind the mixing desk so had a priviledged view of the composers controlling the audio output in real time!
* NB Composers, please don’t take any of this personally!