Thursday, 2 October 2008

T is for...


Abbaye d'Ambronay

I've just finished a tour with the Orchestra of the 18th Century and wow, was it fabulous! Intensive, but fabulous!  Actually, to be honest, I'm pretty pooped - two days of rehearsals in Amsterdam, then concerts in Breda (NL), Ambronay (F), Paris, (F) Haarlem, Eindhoven, Brugge (B), Amsterdam, Groningen and Rotterdam, plus the travel days...  Still, it was totally worth it because this group is really one of the finest early music orchestras in the world and I'm still grinning to think that I got to stand in front of them and scream a bit!  Huzzah!

Haarlem - Philharmonie
 Brugge - Concertgebouw

Nine different halls meant nine different acoustics, nine different approaches to the music and nine different types of expletive.  I learned a lot of new Dutch words over this past fortnight.  Most eye-openingly entertaining. 

Quite a few of the halls were very dry, so you felt like you were playing or singing into a velvet cushion - the sound being immediately absorbed into the furnishings - so you'd have to play with a bit more oomph and broadness although not necessarily with more volume.  Occasionally there was the perfect acoustic where you could play with and feel your sound was being supported and lifted to the audience, and there were a couple of halls, well, really just the abbey, where you felt you were playing in a swimming pool and your sound rang and echoed for more time than the music needed. A LOT more time! In those instances the trick of maintaining a broadness of tone, but keeping the length of notes shorter was the name of the game.    

 Rotterdam - de Doelen

The weather behaved itself beautifully for 12 of the 14 days of the project, generously endowing us with amazing sunsets in France:

sunset over Ambronay

sparklingly clear days around the Amsterdam grachts (canals):

Egelantiersgracht, Amsterdam

and some sunny hours to be a tourist, too...

the marvellous bell tower of the Westerkerk in Amsterdam

Muntplein - Amsterdam

I was also very lucky to stay in the bottom apartment of a house in the Jordaan in Amsterdam for the duration of the project, in a delightful town-house that used to be a bakery in centuries past.  It's a lovely part of the city, indeed...  So picturesque that you forgive the noise and incessant traffic of tourists everywhere!  Then again, I had to forgive the traffic of tourists, considering I was one, too... a faster-walking, know-where-I'm-going tourist, but a tourist, never-the-less!

bakery built in 1647

Of course, now that the tour is over, I have succumbed to the dreaded end-of-project lurgy and am sniffling and sneezing like there's no tomorrow.  This is unfortunate, however, because my next project starts in 4 days. 

In the words of Calvin, he of tiger-trapping fame, AAAUUUUUUUUUUUUGH.

Vitamin C and some efficacious echinacea, anyone?


Anonymous Friday, 3 October 2008 at 01:39:00 BST  

Congrats on another series of performances! I'm sorry you've got the end-of-tour ickies again! It's so frustrating to be sick!
Thank you for your congratulations! There is a link to our professional photos, which we received today, over on my blog! Enjoy! (We love them.)

Library Secretary Friday, 3 October 2008 at 14:27:00 BST  

Lovely photos, dear sis. Hope you manage to get rid of the lurgy before you come home next week. ;-) Just got rid of my cold. Heheheh. Sounds like you had a great time with the Orchestra - can't wait to hear about it. xx

Mair Bloag Weejits

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Heh! I'm so funny!

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