Back to work…
We’re still enjoying the buzz from our three-concert weekend at the TarraWarra Festival in the beautiful Yarra Valley in Victoria, where we played to extremely enthusiastic audiences in very inspiring surroundings.
We had two concerts on the Saturday, the first with an all-French repertoire and the second “Virtuosity” program featuring a feast of string music favourites, including a Vivaldi cello concerto that we had never performed before.
The program exploring French music on Saturday afternoon was mostly new for us. It was a surprisingly creative and varied program higlighting some new works for us by Debussy and Satie. Chris Moore’s performance of his own arrangement of Debussy’s Beau Soir was just stunning!
After a bit of a break (and an attempt to order room service, have a power snooze and practise all in 60 minutes!) we returned for the evening concert, “Virtuosity”. The TarraWarra gallery is an amazing space that has great accoustics. The orchestra sounds really full and gorgeous there and it’s the perfect size. The audience sits very close – that intimacy is something we can’t always capture in our subscription tour venues. Richard insisted that we repeat the last movement of the Vivaldi cello concerto because the audience went a bit crazy and wanted to hear it again. Julian was amazing as continuo baroque guitarist. He imitated it perfectly on his cello! That sort of immediate response is what you get from this kind of intimacy. It’s very rewarding for us and I’m hoping that we achieve that same feeling in our Pier 2/3 concerts as well.
We had a magnificent dinner that night – TarraWarra has a beautiful restaurant with wonderful food and of course magnificent wine.
The final “Abstraction” concert on Sunday featuring Sculthorpe’s Port Essington and Bach’s Concerto for two violins was a really nice way to round out the festivities. We hadn’t all played together for a little while so it was really nice to come together to play all this new and different repertoire as a group.
Before that concert, though, I had a master class with two young cellists from the Victorian Schools Spectacular Strings Ensemble: James Abougelis, from Strathmore Secondary College, and Yhizaira Rodriguez Burge, from Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School. It’s always hard to know how this kind of class will pan out because it’s all down to them really. Playing for a new teacher and performing in front of an audience who have paid for tickets could be really intimidating but they were well prepared and not at all afraid!
Two very different pieces were performed (and then taken apart) – Yhizaira played the Gigue from 3rd Bach Suite for solo cello and James played the “Intermezzo” from Goyescas by Enrique Granados, transcribed for cello and piano by Gaspar Cassado. The audience was really interested in how musicians work to get more out of music and the young players seemed to be very tuned in to my simple sence of humor…