Tag Archive: day off


Only a part day of practice today as we headed up to London again in the afternoon to see the Nash Ensemble perform at Wigmore Hall. I’ll write up a proper review tomorrow, but I thoroughly enjoyed the concert – I just wish it had been longer! There were three works that had been commissioned by the ensemble through their 50 year history, one for solo viola, then two chamber works. I could happily have listened to more.

Beforehand, I went for a long walk in Regent Park, which was busy despite the chilly, overcast weather. Then I caught up with my lovely flute friend Brönte for rather decadent slices of cake in a lovely little cafe come food store on Marylebone St.

Back to studies tomorrow…

Another late night and with it no desire to write a long post! We’re just back from the monthly whist drive, which was good fun. I didn’t do as well as last time (back in October), but did manage to come away with a packet of Sainsbury’s Turkish Delight Thins for getting the highest score in the first half of the evening. More importantly, though, I had a lovely time chatting with some of the other villagers, and supper there was a lovely treat!

The rest of the day wasn’t terribly productive – I did a few hours practice in the morning, though it felt like I was just showing myself how much work I have to do rather than really achieving much. One of my Altès studies for this week is all slurred octaves, and I need to remember not to cut the second note of the slur but to make it softer. Easy in theory, but whole strings of them at speed is rather doing my head in! In the afternoon we had a rehearsal for Tuesday’s concert, though I think it’s got to the point where everyone is mentally a sick of the repertoire. Hopefully our excitement will reignite in time for the concert itself.

Tomorrow we’re off bright and early to London – there’s a coach going from the village and it means we get a day there for £10 return. I’m looking forward to it; catching up with friends, Christmas shopping, hopefully some time for the National Gallery. I think it’ll be good for everyone to let off some steam.

Then hopefully I’ll find a bit of time to write about the Rachel Brown masterclass!

Sheep and a sunset from my run this afternoon.

Sheep and a sunset from my run this afternoon.

After a busy day yesterday, there seemed to be a general consensus that today was a day off, or a day off practising at least. Even at the best of times, I’m not good at doing total relaxation, and so still managed to fit in a long run, baking flapjack and doing some of my written project. This evening, we all snuggled up in the ‘old dairy’ for a session of knitting and sewing accompanied by some well-earned bottles of cider. It was great to have a day (the first in a while) that didn’t involve playing, and I have to credit the others for suggesting it. I would probably just have plowed on regardless! Hopefully the rest will make for some renewed vigor in practice tomorrow.

As for yesterday’s class with Juliet Edwards, I feel like I learned a lot from the experience and from working with her in such an environment. We had been preparing our pieces for a few weeks, but had mostly chosen works that we hadn’t studied or performed before. Mine was the first movement of Poulenc’s Sonata, and others prepared movements of the Burton Sonatina, Schumann’s Three Romances and Enescu’s Cantabile et Presto. Trevor warned us that Juliet would expect us to know the piano part very well, and I had spent quite a bit of time on it as a result. Some of the class struggled getting their work together with piano, and a lot of Juliet’s feedback was on rhythm and understanding why rhythmic integrity (and occasionally flexibility) was important.

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Somewhat hazy, but I’m still in love with these Kentish sunsets!

My main point was also on rhythm, as I’d decided to play the opening demi-semiquavers of the movement with quite a bit of rubato. Fine, said Juliet, if that was a conscious choice, but I need to do it in a way that allows me to arrive at the next bar in a clear tempo. We worked for a while on setting up the tempo, and arrived at an interpretation that involved slightly less rubato as a result! We also talked about the semiquaver rests in Poulenc’s score, which are almost like a comma in his phrases. Juliet asked me to take more time with them, allowing for some breathing space rather than always plowing on. I have to admit that, after so much pressure and criticism (mostly constructive) from Trevor in recent weeks, it was good to be told by Juliet that she thought me a good performer, and that I was communicating my musical ideas well. I really enjoyed playing with her, and it was good to get another opinion on how things are going!