On the the 23rd of this month my friend Simon and I are performing for a 'Speak Eazy' night for charity at Howies, Waterloo Place. We are also helping out the HND event management students who are organising the gig. Sarah Lowe is one of the organisers of the gig and is sorsing a keyboard for me to use on the night.
Yesterday I attended a concert at the Queen's Hall performed by the pianist Angela Hewitt.
"One of the world's leading pianists, Angela Hewitt regularly appears in recital and with major orchestras throughout Europe, the America's and Asia. Her performances and recordings of Bach have drawn particular praise, marking her out as one of the composer's foremost interpreters of our time." - Queen's Hall, programme February 2014
The recital consisted of: Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D minor, BWV 903 by Johann Sebastian Bach 1685 - 1750. Piano Sonata in A flat major, Op 110 (1821) by Ludwig van Beethoven 1770 - 1827. The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 (1750) by Johann Sebastian Bach.
Before performing this final work Ms Hewitt gave a talk about The Art of Fugue, with examples of excerpts from the music included. The audience was instructed in the programme not to applaud following the final movement Contrapunctus XIV as the pianist went on to play "Vor deinen Thron tret ich hermit" BWV 668. "This Chorale prelude is thought to have been dictated by Bach on his deathbed, and was inserted by Bach's son, Carl Philipp Emanuel, on the final page or the first edition of the Art of Fugue, Bach's last masterpiece," - programme notes by Conrad Wilson.
The two main reason's for attending this performance were a) because I hadn't had the experience of hearing Ms Hewitt play live and, b) to use this as an example for how I could perfect my own performance. I hope to hear more of her performing in the future.
As part of my summer holiday I attended the Piano Summer School part 1 at Chetham's School of Music in Manchester. This was a new experience for me because before this I had only attended summer schools in Scotland. I was rather excited by this this brilliant opportunity to visit such a famous institution. I had classical lessons and workshops in both piano and harpsichord (which is another of my passions). The lessons were with Jan Kadlubiski from Poland who gave me my first piano lesson, he taught me one on one and in a workshop settings. Jan's style of teaching suited me very well it was all about polishing and slightly exaggerating my pauses in the music I was playing. Marta Karbownicka, also from Poland gave me a lesson which was all about tidying up lose ends of pieces which I had chosen and she also suggested that I enter a piano competition. There was a one off special opportunity to have a workshop with Einar Steen- Nokleberg from Norway, we had great fun playing some Grieg together. Einar also tested me on my perfect pitch and told me a funny story about his teacher doing the same test on him when he was nine years old. My final lessons were on the harpsichord with a lady called Charlotte Turner from the U.K. She taught me in the art of playing a double manual harpsichord. I also went to three of her workshops and I performed in two of them, this was very enjoyable. I am going to try and contact St Cecelia's Hall in Edinburgh so I can play the two manual harpsichord. I played Mendelssohn's 'Song Without Words' Op. 67 in F sharp minor and I also played' L'Egyptienne', by Rameau at a recital on my last day at the Summer School.
I also attended the majority of the concerts, these were by Murray McLachlan who played Beethoven, Einar Steen-Nokleberg who played Grieg, Noriko Ogawa who played Debussy, Ravel and Beethoven, Carlo Grante who played Chopin, Godowsky and Scarlatti, Matthias Kirschnereit who played Mendelssohn and Schubert, Robert Finley who played Chopin, Faure, Wagner/Liszt, Grieg and Quilter. On the final night of the SummerSchool we went to a Cocert Hall at the University of Manchester to see the Finals of the Manchester International Concerto Competition for Young Pianists I heard recitals of Mozart, Haydn and Chopin. The levels of playing were high and the winning finalist was a lady from the U.K. Sophia Dee
On Friday I was performing some background music on my harp for a fashion show in Newington Library which I am a member of. I was playing with a guitarist before the show started and during the interval and the end of the show as people were leaving. I played a mixture of Italian, Swedish and Scottish music, it was a relaxed performance, raising funds for Marie Curie. The library was packed with people who all enjoyed the show.
Today I had the opportunity to listen to an old friend, Duncan Strachan -Cellist, along with violinist Rachel Spencer at the Edinburgh University lunch-time concert. They played works by Allessandro Rolla , Kodaly and one other composer whose name I think was Grier.
It was a outstanding performance enjoyed by a receptive audience. It could only have been enhanced by a brief printed programme note.
Afterwards we were treated to a short talk by instrument maker Steve Burnett who has made the 'Sherlock Violin' from the wood of a sycamore tree felled just along the road. The tree stood in the garden of the house which is now home to Dunedin Hall School. Arthur Conan Doyle had stayed there as a boy, hence the 'Sherlock' connection. Rachel treated us to an excerpt from Bach's Partita no.2 on this fine instrument.
Thanks to all involved and apologies to Rachel for lack of image of the duo.A
It was a real Fiesta at Stockbridge Parish church today.
More details on my community music blog but it was a real pleasure to
take part in this again; albeit with a new hat of co-presenter.
On the 27th of February it is Fiesta time again at The Edinburgh Performance Festival at Stockbridge Parish Church. Those familiar with my blog may recall that last year grandad joined the performance with me. This year I am doing some harp accompaniment for the Royal Blind School cross campus group who are performing the Selkie song and Stag's March from James Ross's Boy in the Bunnet. I have also been asked, by Jill Reeves the powerhouse behind the whole event, to co-compere. Members of Drake music Scotland will also be participating again this year.
I had the good fortune to do a composition workshop with James in 2011.
You can read about this in my Community Music blog.
On the 19th of October 3 generations of my family gave a concert to the Craigmillar Park Gentleman's Club. I planned the programme, organised rehearsals and led the performance. The repertoire was well received and we were given warm applause and thanks.
During the summer holidays I went to a lunch time concert in a church in Morningside. The concert consisted of organ and trumpet playing both as a duet and as solo items. They played pieces such as Vivaldi, Bach and Mozart, as well as a modern pieces by Stanely, a new composer I had not heard of. I thought that the performances were of very high quality and the performers introduced what they were going to play which was very helpful. I would like