Tuesday, 12 July 2016

So Long and Thanks for All the Fish - Cavendish Winds

Hello from rainy London!

Our last few days in Coll flew by so incredibly quickly - so quickly in fact that we didn't have a chance to write before we left! We successfully jam-packed every day with practise, rehearsing, coaching, sharing wonderful meals with everyone and enjoying the beauty of Coll. On Friday and Saturday night as well as Sunday afternoon there were concerts with all of the groups performing a work that they had been working on that week. This was truly an amazing experience, not least because the audience was always so warm and welcoming, but also because we got hear and be inspired by the other groups' performances. 

We also gave a young persons' workshop on Wednesday with the lovely Christina and Philip and an informal concert later on Sunday after a cup of tea and a slice of cake where we played Poulenc's Sextet with Victor from the Louko Piano Trio for the first time! 

After one last dip in the sea, we all said our goodbyes on Monday and made our way back along the 500 mile road to London. Lucky for us that we were driving as there was a train strike as we had to get for Henry, Alice and Mary who were all graduating on Tuesday! We finally dropped everyone off at their front doors as the sun was rising in the early hours and, after a few hours sleep, everyone made safely it to graduation.

Before we sign off for the last time we wanted to take a moment to say a huge thank you to the Tunnell Trust and everyone who was involved for such a fantastic course. We have come away feeling inspired and even more driven than before we left.

Thank you to Tim (absolute legend), Dickie, Charles, Michael for your incredible musicianship; to Jonathan for his impeccable organisation in making the whole course happen; to David for his sound workshop advice; to Carol, Heather and lovely Fergus for cooking delicious food for us all week; to the awesome film guys from High Viz Media; and last but not least to the talented Attard Zerafa Duo, Louko Piano Trio and Manon Quartet for sharing this wonderful week with us - it was great to meet you all!

Until next time,
Cavendish Winds

Friday, 8 July 2016

Already half-way through the course...!

We can't believe that it's already been over half-way through our time at Coll! It's been intensive, inspiring and rewarding five days with lots of practice, rehearsals and coachings throughout the week.

The Cavendish have already blogged about this, but the FOOD... the food is just amazing! The incredible chefs at the An Cridhe are spoiling all of us with the most delicious home-made meals twice a day and every dinner, there is even dessert. My personal favourite has been the pear and almond tart with chocolate ganache... yum!

We have two coachings a day with our wonderful tutors which have all been so helpful and inspirational. They are constantly pushing us to go beyond what we can already do, both in our technical and ensemble skills - precise matching of bow strokes, articulation and sound, getting the balance between control and passion and to quote one of oue tutors Michael, 'achieving musical impact through the details not at the expense of them'. Even outside the lesson times, they continue to stimulate us through fascinating stories of their life and careers.

The first concert will be this evening with the Shostakovich Piano Trio No.2. This is a very new piece for us and we are still working hard this morning to do the final touches of preparation. It's a great work in which we can really let go of ourselves to explore the extremes of dynamic range and colour.

Meanwhile, we're still having some fun outside all the work hours, going for walks, playing table tennis and sight-reading Beethoven's Triple Concerto...! And yes- we're keeping up to date with the Euro and Wimbledon 2016!.

From the Louko Trio 08/07/16

Monday, 4 July 2016

Musical Mondays - Cavendish Winds

Our week has now officially begun here in Coll - although to be honest it could be any day of the week since it's so blissfully peaceful here! Having come from the busy hustle-bustle of London, where we have to scrape together time to rehearse, being given the space and time here in Coll to focus on making music is pretty heavenly.

Yesterday we got our teeth stuck into Françaix's Quintet No.1 and Barber's sublime Summer Music, both of which we got to play bits of to Tim who gave us many pearls of wisdom on balancing and ensemble. They're both technically demanding pieces but we're managing to pace ourselves throughout the day with interjections of the other pieces we've brought with us (including some Brazilian dances). Mary and Katy have decided that the pesky triplet-demi-semi-quavers (phwoar) in the last movement of the Françaix keep changing every time we come back to rehearse...perhaps we'll manage to sneak up on them and pin them down by the end of the week!

The food here is divine. It's all homemade, including a regular 4pm cake-break, and last night we had scrummy burgers and chunky chips. We keep saying to one another how grateful we are to not have to think about cooking for ourselves for once and just focus on playing! 

Today we really started to break down the Finnissy, which we played to Tim later in the day, and did some really detailed work on the Barber. We had coaching with Charles, too, who offered a whole different perspective on the piece as a string player who is nonetheless very familiar with the piece and an incredible musician. 

Since we travelled to Coll by car we've had the pleasure of exploring the island almost every afternoon since we've arrived. Yesterday we took stumbled across some sand dunes and played frisbee across a long sandy beach not far from the island's historic castle, although we didn't brave the sea this time. This evening we took the high road to Jonathan's confessed favourite beach on the island to watch the sun go down. A family of curious seals came quite close to us, but Henry didn't quite manage to coax them close enough to touch...

After a fierce game of Dobble and having had a healthy dose of sea air we're now off to bed.

Goodnight all, 
From Cavendish Winds
The admin advance party arrived on Friday on Coll with mixed weather - Bright to the west and very dark to the east!

Coaching and rehearsing under way - Tim Brown with the Cavendish Wind Quintet


and Charles Tunnell with the Louko Piano Trio!

Everyone seems well settled in for a good week on Coll!

Saturday, 2 July 2016

London to Coll - Cavendish Winds

 After a hazy cup of coffee at 5am in East Finchley, we finally set off on our way to the beautiful Scottish island of Coll. Once a certain member of the group got over the absence of a clutch in the semi-automatic car, it was plain sailing. Highlights of the drive include the beautiful scenery of the Scottish lochs, sausage baps and numb bums.

 Having driven through periodic downpours all day, we descended into the beautiful coastal town of Oban in the glorious evening sunshine, and after twelve hours in the car we still hadn't had enough of each other, so decided to check into our 5 bed hostel room. As usual, Charlie failed to fit into his bed so we went in search of fish and chips instead. We had a fabulous supper in a local chippy, and followed this with some dessert in the late-night waffle and ice cream joint on the seafront. After a beautiful sunset we processed into the shower and then to bed.

 The next morning we were whipped into line by Katy and made our way onto the 7:15 ferry, where we spent most of the trip playing cards and admiring the stunning scenery from up on deck. Despite introducing ourselves to "the wrong Jonathan" on the quayside and almost ending up working for a local volunteering organisation, we soon found ourselves settling into our home for the next week - The Bunkhouse. It was great to meet the other musicians on the course and getting to know one another over a lovely lunch but couldn't avoid getting our instruments out any longer.

 We used the afternoon rehearsal to get stuck into the Francaix quintet and to make plans for the workshop we'll be giving to local school children on Wednesday. We've found that beyond our individual practise, the main task with this piece is finding the right balance as an ensemble as it's often densely scored and marked with slightly unrealistic dynamics, if they were to be taken literally.


 Later in the afternoon we took a little drive around the island and made a beeline for the beach. Once there we couldn't resist charging into the sea in the howling winds and crashing waves, and making the most of the fresh air. Having successfully filled every crevice of our clothing/bodies with wet sand, we made our way back to the Bunkhouse to freshen up and sample the local ales from the pub.

 We're looking forward to a good nights sleep and a day of rehearsals tomorrow, including our first coaching session.

Cavendish Winds

First Day in Coll - First Blog from Louko Trio!

It's AMAZING! We've only been here in Coll for 8 hours and we're already loving it.
After the longest and also the most beautiful journey we've done together as a trio, we arrived in Oban last night, still full of energy! We had the most delicious seafood dinner by the port and walked up the McCaig's Tower where we had an incredible view of the whole Oban. You can imagine how refreshing this would have been for us after a year in grey Manchester...!

Luckily for the trio, all of us are night-owls and don't usually get out of bed to start rehearsals until the afternoon. However this morning, we were all up, ready and eager to take the ferry to Isle of Coll at 7am. Our pianist, unfortunately was sea-sick so had to sleep all the way through but the strings got to enjoy the glorious view from the ferry!

Now this exciting week which we know will be full of hard work, inspiration and fun has begun. Everywhere we turn our eyes to is spectacular and inspirational, the fellow ensembles - the Cavendish winds, the Manon Quartet and the Attard/Zerafa Duo are all hard-working, friendly and great musicians! There is also a beautiful Bosendorfer grand piano on site to rehearse on. What more could we ask for?

For today, we've done our daily practice, played football with our new little friend and now we're eagerly waiting for our first delicious dinner! After that - pub.

From Louko Piano Trio 02/07/16

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Only two weeks to go until Music Coll 2016!
Here's a taster:

Check back to follow everything going on at Music Coll in a couple of weeks.