Thursday, 24 June 2010

Play Me - I'm Yours

Back by popular demand, the City of London Festival brings you Street Pianos.

I played one of these at Liverpool St station last summer, for a few minutes. There were many notes that did not work, and it was horribly out of tune; my suggestion is that if you want to get out and play, it's best to do so sooner rather than later, while the instruments are still in a better condition.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

The Week, er, Behind

On Monday I posted about all I have to do this week.

Things are some things that didn't get done. I still haven't rescheduled my dental appointment, and there are a few other phonecalls that have piled up, which isn't so good. I fought with the piece for the St Paul's competition but still I don't have a rough draft I'm happy with, so I'm having to consider whether I'll submit anything at all. I didn't get around to finding recordings for the choir at St Andrew's to listen to, and I didn't get to the recitals at Trinity that I wanted to attend.

There were some good things, though. The choir rehearsal at St Andrew's yesterday evening went well despite my rather shallow preparation and only having two people there. It's quite hard work to sing with so few people present and those who did turn up worked hard and did well.

Also yesterday I met with Rev Kathryn Robinson, the newly-appointed Performing Arts Adviser for the Barking Episcopal area. It was good to meet her and to talk about some of what I do, what's going on at St Andrew's, and some of the collaborations that might be possible.

The Brigantia Consort rehearsal on Thursday night felt efficient and useful, despite all of us being rather exhausted. We've managed to share out the writing of programme notes in a way that I think makes sense, we made some decisions about clothing (always difficult if you decide you don't want to just wear black), we narrowed down some of the repertoire for the concert on 11th July and oh, yeah, we rehearsed some music. I don't want to speak too soon -- it definitely needs more work -- but tuning between serpent and violin does seem to be improving.

At Quire on Wednesday night I did not completely disgrace myself at playing a rather tricky bassline on an instrument with a turning circle the size of an elephant, and as usual I enjoyed the rehearsal immensely.

Teaching on Monday and Tuesday went well. It was the first week of trying out some new timing for Tuesdays, which looks like it's going to work a lot better for my students as well as meaning I get home a good 45 minutes earlier. Hooray! The long-term viability of making the journey from Leytonstone to North London two days a week has been weighing on me recently; the later nights on Tuesday definitely weren't helping. I was still too tired to do as much psalmody-related reading as I would have liked, though.

Today has been a Day Off, except that writing this post probably counts as work, oops. Tomorrow will be mostly church and another attempt at some composing, and then a look at what lies ahead next week.

Monday, 14 June 2010

The Week Ahead

This week is looking pretty typical in terms of what I need to do, at least musically.

I'm teaching tonight and tomorrow night. I've done most of the preparation for that, but need to remember to bring music with me for my students. I'll be leaving home at 2pm each day and spending a lot of time on public transport... I usually use this time to read. Right now the important reading is all to do with psalmody and church music. I had rather hoped to have finished my psalmody-related reading by now and be well into writing workshop outlines, but the last few weeks I've been flagging.

Wednesday night there will be a London Gallery Quire rehearsal. Some of the music is a bit technically challenging on the serpent so I need to take some time to look at it.

Thursday night Brigantia are rehearsing at my place, and I need to practise that music beforehand, too. I also need to spend a significant amount of time on programme notes and organisational aspects of our concert on 11th July. It would be nice to get a gallery up on the website, too, but I don't think that's going to be realistic this week.

Friday night I am taking the choir rehearsal at St Andrew's, and I will need to learn the hymns well enough to accompany. I also want to find recordings of some of the pieces for a joint Evensong on 27th June at which we've been invited sing. We're a small choir and don't usually have all four parts at rehearsals, and it can be disorienting to suddenly have whole sections of tenor and alto rather than one each, and any bass part at all. Since I haven't been taking the choir rehearsals for very long, I don't even know what the facilities are like for listening to a CD. This could be a challenge.

I've been working on a piece for a competition which has a deadline of 30th June. Late last week it became clear that I'd managed to go onto the wrong track and was writing something that wouldn't really be suitable for the terms of the competition, so I went right back to the drawing board, decided to ditch the organ for now and stick to SATB a capella... I found a new text, but alas no English translation that is in the public domain in this country, so ended up commissioning someone else to make a new one for me. I ought to try and have at least a rough draft by the end of this week.

In addition to that, there is a final recital at Trinity College of Music that I'd like to attend, I need to reschedule a dentist appointment (cancelled this morning due to transport difficulties), I have two peer support meetings and one project planning meeting, perhaps some other meetings getting in there as well and a physiotherapy appointment on Friday afternoon. Errands need to get a look-in, too.

I'll try and report back later in the week with how I'm getting on...

Friday, 11 June 2010

Brigantia Consort hath a website.

It's very rudimentary, but Brigantia Consort now has a web presence. Yay!

Why the rush to get this done? Well, we're busking tomorrow morning at Parliament Hill Farmers' Market, weather permitting, to raise money for Shelter. While we're there we'll also hand out some flyers and maybe even sell tickets for our next concert:


With Merry Glee

An eclectic programme of psalmody,
folk music and improvisation
with an early music twist.

Anna Michel -- violin
Jessie Holder -- voice, recorder
Kathryn Rose -- horn, serpent

Sunday, 11th July 7.30pm
St John on Bethnal Green
200 Cambridge Heath Road London E2 9PA

Tickets £5 (£4 conc.) available at the door
or contact

Pretty neat, eh? There's a lot to do yet, of course. But the posters and tickets themselves have the address of the blog where we're parking the website for now, so there had to be something up there, even if it's rudimentary.

Meanwhile, I've not been posting here much, despite my best intentions. I think that after I stopped posting lots of degree-related things, I sort of "lost the voice" of this blog. I suspect the only way to develop it is going to be to post, though, and I make no guarantees about just how often I'll manage that.