And so we set off on Monday morning, still dizzy from the ceilidh, from Dunblane onto Perth for our 5th concert. After a lovely Italian lunch we rehearsed in our venue ahead of the evening concert, tweaking corners and checking acoustics. The programme included Danzi, Piazolla, Ligeti and Nielsen which have become firm favourites of the quintet after performing them many times this week! We have especially loved the opportunity to keep developing our interpretation of these pieces by playing them slightly differently each time, taking risks and knowing that everyone else in the group is right there listening and responding in the moment!
The following morning we headed to Oakbank primary school for two workshops, inviting the pupils to conduct us improvising for part of the morning (really just so we could take it easy…). Next we set off to our last concert location Dundee. We were all welcomed by our last set of fantastic hosts for dinner before our last concert of the tour. We will very much miss the home cooking post tour and Mary has even vowed to become a goddess in the kitchen back in London. Our reeds were on their last legs before the final concert so we gave them a good talking to and powered on. The programme was well received in Dundee and we headed to sleep for an early night before our final workshop in Dundee primary school. We ended the workshop with a rendition of ‘Let it Go’ from the Disney film Frozen with an assembly hall of children singing along!
We’ve had an amazing time this week in Scotland and so enjoyed the opportunity to tour as an ensemble performing six concerts back to back. Our reputation as a group who can’t stop giggling is still in tact; I think we will all be resting our stomach muscles for the next week from all the laughing! Thanks to the Tunnell Trust for this fantastic opportunity.
Thanks for what have obviously been superb concerts to all of you and thanks for the Blogging! It’s the first time we have managed to get all our groups telling the stories of their Tours and it is a great way to have everyone join in the adventures.
Our fourth concert was at lunchtime in the beautiful Dunblane Cathedral. There was a group of students from Sterling recording us, which is great as we can listen back to it afterwards. We also performed a world premiere of a work written for us by James Moriaty. It’s called ‘Softly, Softly’ and is based on Roberta Flack’s song ‘Killing me softly’. This is our third commission and it was really interesting working with James and seeing the piece change over time. ‘Softly, Softly’ was inspired by popular song, in the same way the Arnold three shanties and the Ligeti Bagatelles were inspired by folk melodies. The audience loved the piece and it went down very well!
Ruth, who is part of the Dunblane Cathedral arts guild, saw in our biography that we liked ceilidhs and very kindly organised one for after the concert! There were some seasoned ceilidhs dancers in their kilts who showed us the steps and there was even some live music with bagpipes and everything. It was amazing to experience traditional Scottish music and in such a fantastic community setting.
We’re off to Perth tomorrow to play in st Johns Kirk.
Our final post…we arrived home and back to city life yesterday after travelling by ferry, car, plane and train, and we’re already missing the landscape that’s surrounded us for the last ten days.
Our last concert of the tour was on Sunday afternoon for Cowal Music Club. We played Mozart, Haydn and Bartok at the newly refurbished Dunoon Burgh Hall – a really enjoyable acoustic to play in and a very well attended concert!
On the way to Dunoon we stopped at the magnificent Loch Eck, to take in the views and for an unplanned photo shoot. Following several unsuccessful attempts negotiating the self-timer function on the camera, we came out with a few good ones! We also had a delicious lunch and fascinating studio tour at the home of artists Don McNeil and Jean Bell. For some incredible paintings of the rugged Scottish landscape have a look at their website: fyne-studios.com.
So all that remains to say is a huge ‘thank you’ to all the people who have housed us, fed us and entertained us along the way! We’re constantly impressed by the dedication of music societies and the people who are passionate about bringing classical music to their part of the world – we are very grateful for your commitment. And, of course, to the Tunnell Trust for supporting this tour which has provided us so many memories.
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We arrived in snowy Fort William ready for our second concert and spent the afternoon hypnotised by the beautiful mountains. Our second performance was at Lochaber High school and included Barbers Summer music which warmed us up nicely. We also performed a UK premier Quintet a Vent by Silvestrini before ending with an old favourite Ligeti’s Six Bagatelles. After a good night’s sleep in a swaying bunk bed we drove to Helensburgh. We had been warned of treacherous pot holes and ice so we stocked up with a good breakfast in preparation and crossed our fingers. The journey went smoothy in the hands Alice the stig Quayle and the stunning mountain views kept us quiet.
After fueling up with tea we gave our third concert in The Tower Digital Arts Centre with more Nielsen, Danzi and stocking fillers inbetween. Off to Dunblane tomorrow.