Sorry for the absence of a blog post in recent weeks – this is pretty much the first opportunity I’ve had to sit down and write one! This last two weeks have been extremely busy one way or another, as I starting the tuesday before last (8th feb), I was touring with the Scottish Ensemble as part of their ‘Side by Side with RSAMD strings’ project (see photo above of a rehearsal in Caird Hall). The tour was great fun but exhausting, as we did 5 concerts in 7 days in Aberdeen, Inverness, Perth, Dundee and Edinburgh. We did have a weekend to break the run of concerts, so at least I got some rest in between (and saw Alex in Crail, which was lovely!) but the life of a touring musician is pretty hard as I found out. The 2 nights we stayed in hotels (in Aberdeen – the Carmelite hotel: ok but a bit noisy due to the bar opposite) and in Inverness (the Columba hotel- very nice!) were both very late, as for those of you who don’t know, musicians tend to drink a lot and banter late into the night…
My impressions of the playing with members of the Scottish ensemble were very positive- it was fantastic to play beside two very accomplished players – Fiona Winning , one of the Ensemble’s permanent members who job shares with Cathy Marwood, and Rose Redgrave, who plays in Warwick university’s quartet in residence, the Coull Quartet . Jonathan Morton, the ensemble’s artistic director, is a rare combination of artistically demanding and entirely likeable and easygoing at the same time, and often asked me how my neck/shoulder was throughout the tour (I had told him about the problem early on in the rehearsals). The five concerts I played with the Ensemble were all very special, but for me the Inverness and Edinburgh ones were where I performed at my best (sorry to Alex and Cate who were at the Dundee one!). Here are some reviews of the concerts:
Other things that have been happening:
• The Musiclab does Birtwistle concert on Monday 7th feb was a great success, or so I gathered from the audience – I still don’t really get or like the piece we played (Silbury air) which is supposed to be one of the hardest that Birtwistle wrote…! Here’s a photo of the score with the absurd metronome mark of 112 ½ !! The conductor, Jessica Cottis, managed extremely well though.
• I have started physio on my neck/shoulder to try and help the pain get better, The physio (who specialises in musicians) has told me it is because I put my head forward when I play, and thus put strain on my lower neck, irritating the nerves and causing pain in my shoulder/arms/left hand. He has given me some exercises to do, and I’m going back next week.
• I have entered the concerto competition, the preliminary round of which is on 7th march. I will be accompanied by Scott Mitchell, one of RSAMD’s accompanists, and will be playing the Walton Viola Concerto (only the 1st mvt for the first round, the rest if I get through on 11th march).
• I have been on my nursery placement twice – more of that in another post!