I didn't go to the fun Scottish Presbyterian church this Sunday, instead I went to The 2007 Greenwich International Early Music Festival and Exhibition. Which was pretty darn cool if I do say so myself. I tried out a bunch of gambas and bows and some bodhrans. My favorite part though was walking by the tables filled with bagpipes and listening to 7 people at once playing very discordantly.
The exhibition was in two main halls with a bunch of little nooks and crannies filled with instruments as well. I only went to the last day, so I missed a lot of the concerts and competitions, but I did get to see Fretwork playing on new gambas made by Jane Julier. It was a pretty cute performance/demonstration. That particular configuration of 5 viol players had never played as a consort before and all of the instruments were brand new (one hadn't even been varnished yet and I think the scroll was unfinished as well). So it was quite a relaxed and informal performance type thing. At one point they train wrecked and had to stop.
"Where you want to start again? Should we go to the beginning?"
"Eh, how about 15?"
Also they had to tune constantly because the room was so warm and it was so cold outside. It was very consort-y and made me miss the Peabody consort terribly. I ended up spending a decent amount of time chatting with a baroque cellist next to me who then introduced me to Alison Crum who is the viol teacher at Trinity College and, as it turns out, Peter's new viol teacher as well. There is going to be a Gamba Festival on Wednesday at the Royal College of Music so hopefully I'll be able to make some consort contacts there.
The pictures are of:
*The outside of the Old Royal Naval College because it was a beautiful crisp and clear day.
*The painted room exhibition area- I walked in and was completely overwhelmed by the whole thing. Instruments everywhere, people playing recorders and just walking around, fake candle lamps, and then the ceiling! and the walls! The piles of sheet music!
*harpsichords in the stairwell, people would just sit down and play Bach for 10-15 minutes.
On the way back from the festival I stopped in the Greenwich market, which was either a brilliant idea or a terrible one. I love markets, but I can't really buy anything at them. By "anything" I mean more than .5% of what I want. I did end up buying some giant golden raisins, three pieces of sushi, and a spinach and feta tasty thing all of which I ate on the Docklands Light Railway which is a bit like a commuter roller coaster.
Peter had called me that afternoon because he remembered that he had a gig that night near GSMD, so I met up with him at 5:30 and grabbed some hot chocolate (for me) and decaff espresso (seems a contradiction in terms, doesn't it? for him) before going to the St. Anne and St. Agnes church and listening to the Requiem Mass For Remembrance Sunday which was Heinrich Schütz’s Musicalisches Exequien. Peter was playing the bass to back up a viol and organ continuo section. I ended up sitting next to a man who had written the English translation of Musicalisches Exequien, so he knew the piece very well and had a copy of his score with him that he graciously shared with me. He sang along under his breath a bit and would conduct subtly from his seat when he felt like they weren't articulating correctly or were dragging. It was pretty neat.
All in all, what a lovely day. On Tuesday I'm going to Peter's performance of some Brandenburg Concertos with Trevor Pinnock, I'm pretty excited.