Sunday 12 March 2006

Yesterday was rather schizophrenic as I was simultaneously working on arrangements for 3 different concerts. For next Saturday's Cranmer concert, in Oxford, this involved making lists and printing the programmes. We've had one rehearsal for this and there's another one next week, so things are progressing nicely. For the orchestral concert, at St. James's Piccadilly on March 23rd, I have been finding Studio space for the baritone soloist, David Greiner, to rehearse. He's flying in on Friday, having spent the week rehearsing an operatic triple bill in Germany.

Then at the same time, I'm finalising the music for the concert at the Chelsea Festival in June, so the dining table is currently covered with the necessary scores so that I can get a set to Paul Ayres, the conductor. Of course, with my own pieces, especially the new one, I keep tinkering with them and must come to a cut off point and decide that no more work can be done before the concert.

One feature of the concert, which is themed on music dedicated to the virgin mary, is a sequence which I hope will alternate plainchant and organ music based on chant; I've currently got some organ volumes out of the Library, some lovely 17th century organ Magnificats by Titelouze; all I need now are the plainchant magnificats and tracking those down seems to be rather a trial.

Last night we went see Chelsea Opera Group at the Cadogan Hall in Chelsea, the first time we've been to the hall since the opening celebrations. It is a fine venue, though the forces needed for Verdi's Attila stretched the platform to its limits. As ever with concert halls, the anciliary spaces are not always ideal; the access to the stairs leading up to the auditorium are a bit cramped when the hall is full, as are the toilets. These are areas it is difficult to get right, after all the Coliseum rebuild has left it with brand new Gents toilets which are larger than the old ones but are remarkably awkwardly designed with a built in bottle neck.

My review of the opera performance will appear in Music and Vision in due course.

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