Author: Patrick Bolton

Farewell to Tim Brown

Today was our last day working with the phenomenal Tim Brown. We’ve managed to get through works by MacMillan, Hillborg, Ravel, Nielsen, and Gershwin, and it’s safe to say they’re all the better for Tim’s input. We’re so grateful to have been able to work with someone with such encyclopaedic knowledge, and we’ll certainly miss his anecdotes – we can’t believe we’ve been able to work with someone who played The Firebird for Stravinsky himself!

On Monday we were able to perform a short programme of music to our colleagues from the Salome Quartet and the Larisa Trio. It’s such a rarity to be able to perform in the present circumstances, and it gave us a great taste of what’s to come later in the week. 

We’ve been making the most of our surroundings in our free time and are gradually ticking off Coll’s stunning beaches. And yes, that means swimming in the sea! Even a brief encounter with a jellyfish hasn’t deterred Francesca from continuing to frequent the North Atlantic.

All in all we’re having an incredible time and relishing the opportunity to play together so much after such a tough year. We’re very excited to share the fruits of our labour later in the week.

Ensemble Renard Arrive in Coll

As we gathered in London at 7am to begin our long drive up to Scotland, we were all so excited to be escaping the city for a week of intensive music making at Music Coll 2021. We had a great drive up, talking about the week ahead and the beautiful island we would be living on for the week. We then had a lovely lunch at the independent Tebay Services in Penrith, and later stopped off at Loch Lomond to enjoy the breathtaking scenery before driving through the mountains to Oban. We then had our second early start in a row to get the ferry across to Coll. It was well worth it as we watched the sunrise sailing away from the mainland and past the Isle of Mull, spending the whole journey on deck embracing the sea air (though George and Ellie took their their full Scottish breakfast inside!).

As we arrived on Coll we were greeted by Jonathan and David from the Tunnell Trust and were shown around An Cridhe. We then had our first coaching with Tim Brown which was amazing. We worked on the Nielsen Quintet and Hans Abrahamsen’s arrangement of Tombeau de Couperin, working to find a balance and flow that would help foreground the material that needs to be heard.

A few of us went on a short walk before dinner to explore the island and were accompanied on our journey down the seafront by an inquisitive seal! Dinner was provided at the Island Cafe by Heather and her wonderful team – the perfect end to a long day of travel and hard work.