I’ve been covering some fairly substantial mileage, both physically and in terms of repertoire, over the last seven days. Here, slightly delayed, is my review of Longborough Festival Opera’s Tristan und Isolde: another superb show whose musical glory wasn’t quite matched by directorial vision.
Then on Friday I was off to the far side of Nottinghamshire to visit the remarkable Newark Violin School, where I was made to feel extremely welcome. It’s a wonderful institution: you feel as if you’ve wandered into a modern-day medieval guild. Part of me simply wished I could just throw everything in and enrol myself. Maybe I will some day! That was another assignment courtesy of Jessica Duchen (whom I was delighted to see at Longborough – an island of sanity amidst all the black ties, vintage cars and popping champagne corks of country house opera: still a very disconcerting experience for me) for The Amati Magazine. Watch this space for the full report, probably next week.
Meanwhile – I’ve been writing sleeve notes for Warner Classics’ forthcoming 50-CD box of Simon Rattle‘s recordings with the CBSO. It was bittersweet, to say the least, to be writing those in the week when my former colleagues were marking the departure of Andris Nelsons – and a timely reminder that it takes more than just great conducting to make a great music director. And then, programme notes for the CBSO’s forthcoming Ella Fitzgerald tribute night. Talk about a labour of love…Ella’s Rodgers and Hart Songbook was one of those albums that entered my life at the exact moment when it could strike deepest; she’s one of the only non-classical artists whose name on a CD sleeve will make me buy it on sight. I still can’t listen to A Ship Without a Sail without feeling crushed inside. Anyway, it’s an absolutely gorgeous programme…maybe someone will ask me to review it..?