22nd-23rd October saw me in Chichester, back in the company of La Folie for some English Baroque repertoire (on violin in my case). Nothing new there; I’ve done two concerts with them before and obviously the repertoire is upwards of 250 years old!
But, this wasn’t concerts; we were recording the consort’s début album. That marks a first for me; my first serious classical ensemble recording (as opposed to solo demos and rock / pop / electronic / etc. releases). Also a first for me: using a (replica) period instrument in anger (I’ve used a Baroque-pattern bow before). I’ve already shared some photos of that, loaned, instrument, so won’t go over dead ground, but suffice to say it does really help to not have to fight the inclinations of a modern instrument, even while the differences demand some shifts in technique – I was surprised to find how much difference it made to do without a chin rest, despite having played several times before without a shoulder stand, for instance.
So this was two days of putting new learning into practice (I’d been practising on the instrument for the previous week, between rehearsals and performances of West Side Story on my conventional modern violin) and taking a performance sweep through from turn of the 16th to 17th century consort music (really written for viols) all the way to an Arne trio sonata written in the mid-18th century and occupying a very different sound world. We need to go back and tie up a few loose ends, but got a lot done in a short space of time and are hoping for a release date early next year.
Completing that job saw me back at home, devoting renewed energy to Bach unaccompanied cello music on viola and to audition material for work backing a singer-songwriter. In addition, after a month in Australia and New Zealand, Elaine Samuels is back in the UK and Kindred Spirit have three full band gigs this month. I write this before packing up to head off to the first, out in Surrey (Ottershaw to be precise). Also coming up in November: another London Filthy Spectacula gig, a music video shoot and more to be confirmed …