November was looking quiet; then a couple of emails and suddenly I haven’t blogged for over a fortnight. In the last 9 days I’ve somehow found myself seeing four different operas in three different cities, playing Rachmaninoff’s The Isle of the Dead and squeezing in a bit of contemporary music too. Here’s what I’ve been up to when not at my desk:
– Visits to the Royal College of Music, Birmingham Conservatoire and Guildhall School of Music and Drama for my ongoing Amati Magazine survey of string departments at the UK’s music colleges. The RCM article is here.
– Glyndebourne on Tour‘s Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail at Milton Keynes (review forthcoming in The Spectator)
– Birmingham Contemporary Music Group for The Birmingham Post and The Arts Desk (plus the discovery that the composer Patrick Brennan is a really impressive new voice)
– Welsh National Opera’s I Puritani for The Birmingham Post
– Opera North’s Jenufa in Nottingham (also for The Spectator – watch this space!)
– Welsh National Opera’s Sweeney Todd for (I thought) the Birmingham Post, though it actually appeared in the Mail. And my feature-length preview of the same show popped up there too.
– and then playing the cello badly in a programme of Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev and Elgar with my old friends at the Wrexham Symphony Orchestra. At last my arm is complete again!
Plus I’ve been writing about James Bond for the CBSO, Ligeti for the Barber Institute, and some fun seasonal programmes for West End International and the RLPO; not to mention some exciting projects with the LPO, RPO and Ulster Orchestra, including an enjoyable chance to spend some quality time with Johan Wagenaar’s wonderful Cyrano de Bergerac overture (give it a try).
Anyway, that’s why I’ve been quiet. Then I looked up and…it’s basically one month to Christmas. Oh, b*gger.