After yesterday’s rather dismal outlook, I had a much more positive day today. A couple of the reasons were non-flute-related: I Skyped with some lovely friends in Australia this morning, the studio group had our weekly outing to Tesco, and I made a hot and yummy broccoli soup for dinner! All these things gave me the energy to do a fair slog of practice, and now my lips are a bit dead again.

Of particular note was that our repertoire for the week is Marin Marais’s Les Folies d’Espagne. I have a funny relationship with this piece. Despite being a bit of a new music fan in recent years, this is one of my all-time favourite flute pieces, or at least the E minor solo one is! I was a bit shocked to pick up the score for class and find that it was in G minor instead, but have actually found that my fingers got round the new key relatively easily (there are just a few mordants and trills that come a bit more easily in E min0r). There are also a couple of different variations between the E and G minor versions, which I’ve needed to have a think about.

In re-visiting the work, I’ve realised that I love it for precisely the reason that it’s so hard; a really wonderful performance holds my attention through all 31 variations, despite the fact that the harmony doesn’t change. I’ve got a wonderful recording of Jordi Savall and Baroque ensemble playing the whole set (exactly the one I’m now doing, interestingly enough), and the energy that they inject into the music is fantastic. Every variation makes me feel like dancing, yet in a different way each time. While they can achieve a lot more variety of timbre through the different instruments, my challenge is to play with the same energy and vitality across all the variations.

With Roya and Chin Ting also practising the same piece today, there has been an awful lot of G minor!

Tomorrow we’re heading up to London again, this time to hear Wibb give a masterclass. It’ll be a long day, but I’m looking forward to it.

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