After so much planning and worrying about all the things that could have gone wrong on the tour we are incredibly happy, somewhat surprised and definitely relieved that the tour was able to go ahead this time and that everything went smoothly and according to plan! In fact, once I was on the train home after the tour I was so relaxed that I managed to leave my suitcase with all the recordings on the train… Long story short it’s all with me now!
As I mentioned in our previous post we were very excited to perform to a live audience, and from the warm welcome we received at each concert the audience probably felt the same! We had a lot of people come up to us after the concerts to tell us how much they’ve enjoyed our playing and how much they’ve missed the spark of live performances the past few years! Some others messaged us directly, some expressed their gratitude through their music society, and as you can imagine all of this is the reason why we do what we do, it is so rewarding to get this sort of feedback after all the hard work to bring these amazing pieces alive.
That alone however, as great as it is, wouldn’t be enough to make these concerts happen so we owe a huge thank you to the Tunnell Trust and all the music societies for their support, for creating this opportunity, for their help organising the concerts and for going the extra mile providing us with delicious meals, homemade cakes or a wee dram at the hotel!
This being our first tour, we had some new experiences that have been very valuable to the group. For example having the chance to perform the same piece multiple times over a few days gives us a platform to experiment and improvise. However to me perhaps the most valuable part of the tour was that we became even closer friends than before. The long (and beautiful) drives gave us a rare chance to bond over meaningful conversations and we even had time to visit the Glenfinnan Viaduct to slow down and appreciate the view! It was a week we’ll definitely look back to fondly.
Thankfully we don’t have to wait too long until the next part of our tour which will be in November with a slightly different programme! In the meantime if you would like to see where we play next feel free to check out our website at broenensemble.co.uk.
Our tour was originally planned to take place in December 2020 which of course had to be postponed due to the pandemic, although we managed to organise a socially distanced online concert in place of it which was a unique experience that allowed us to see each other after many months of lockdowns.
While we were lucky enough individually to get some work with orchestras around the UK, chamber music has been very rare to come by, and more importantly the 7 of us haven’t played together since that online concert!
We were therefore very impatient (and nervous!) to start rehearsals, and rehearse we did, as the three big pieces we’re offering are all difficult in very different ways!
The famous Schubert Quintet is very intricately written which although makes it a constant challenge to show all the beautiful details, the balance takes care of itself, unlike in Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence where often a lot of things are going on at the same time. In fact the first version of the piece was, in the composer’s own words “astonishingly bad in all aspects“. Schoenberg’s incredible Verklärte Nacht is somehow a mixture of both which is probably one of the reasons why it is seldom performed.
Given all the above we can’t meaningfully describe how satisfying it felt to finally play together, but with the rehearsals behind us we are now on our way from the rainy (snowy? or sunny?) Glasgow to our first concert in Fort William and we couldn’t be more excited!
Hello! For the next week the Magnard Ensemble will be travelling all around Scotland sharing wonderful pieces of wind quintet repertoire, including works by James Macmillan, Mozart, Ligeti, Hindemith, Amy Beach and others.
After months of planning (and a very beautifully organized spreadsheet courtesy of Mana) four out of five set off from London Euston for Dumfries, where we had a hire car booked to transport us all around Scotland. Upon our arrival, however, we were surprised to be greeted with this absolute monster:
Blog readers, meet NESSIE.
She is big. She is beautiful. And she’s ours for the next six days! We even joked we could play a whole concert inside if we wanted to (we just might…)! Bottom line is, we love her, she’s already an honorary member of the Ensemble, and we’re very excited to document our adventures with her.
The short drive from Dumfries to our first venue in Lockerbie saw us pick up oboist Mana from the station and then onwards to our hotel – where our first concert was going to take place the following evening! Shortest concert commute ever?
After a good night’s sleep, we had close to a whole day to explore Lockerbie and take a walk round the beautiful local nature reserve before coming back to play our first concert of the tour, just down the stairs from our accommodation! Both the Somerton House Hotel and Lockerbie and District Music Society were so welcoming and we got our tour off to a rousing start – an eclectic mix of repertoire from Bach to Leo Geyer, Amy Beach to Ligeti.
Today Nessie whisks us to Kirkcaldy (we’ve been briefed on pronunciation), more from us tomorrow!