Recorders as far as the eye can see!

by Helen Hooker April. 14, 2019 537 views
Playing in St. Cuthbert's Chapel

Playing in St. Cuthbert's Chapel

This weekend has been a tale of two activities – recorder playing and photography. The Society of Recorder Players holds a national festival every spring, moving to a different location around the country each year. This year we’ve had the pleasure of being at Ushaw College, near Durham. I’ve conducted a couple of ensemble sessions during the weekend, but my main task has been as official photographer. The organisers gave me a list of the events they wanted covered, so my first plan of action was to write myself a timetable, to ensure nothing got missed!

Usually the main focus of these festivals is the recorder playing, often in quite large ensembles. This weekend was no different, although there were lots of other events too. I crept discreetly in and out of the playing rooms, trying to capture the playing activity, all the while looking for interesting or dramatic gestures from the participants.

Parandrus in St. Cuthbert's Chapel

Parandrus in St. Cuthbert's Chapel

A new addition to the festival this year was a fringe event, with lots of concerts popping up here and there around the College. These provided plenty of interesting photo opportunities and it’s always an enjoyable challenge to catch on camera that split second which tells a story of the performance.

The Tom Ridout Jazz Trio kept us entertained in the refectory at lunchtime

The Tom Ridout Jazz Trio kept us entertained in the refectory at lunchtime

Lux Musicae London in St. Cuthbert's Chapel

Lux Musicae London in St. Cuthbert's Chapel

Elsewhere we had masterclasses and a competition for new compositions for recorder quartet and it was a privilege to be able to sneak into these sessions and see what was going on.

Joris Van Goethem giving a masterclass on Telemann Fantasias

Joris Van Goethem giving a masterclass on Telemann Fantasias

Block4 performed all the brand new quartet compositions in the competition workshop on Saturday morning

Block4 performed all the brand new quartet compositions in the competition workshop on Saturday morning

Feedback about the compositions before the results

Feedback about the compositions before the results

On Sunday afternoon Block4 gave a wonderful concert in the theatre

On Sunday afternoon Block4 gave a wonderful concert in the theatre

The climax of the weekend was the massed playing session in the setting of the Pugin designed Refectory. Conducted by Joris Van Goethem, around 250 players gathered to perform a new composition by Rosemary Robinson and I was delighted to catch a photo of Rosemary amid the ensemble, evidently enjoying the moment very much.

Massed playing in the refectory

Massed playing in the refectory

Joris conducting the full ensemble

Joris conducting the full ensemble

Judging by Rosemary Robinson's expression she enjoyed hearing her composition performed.

Judging by Rosemary Robinson's expression she enjoyed hearing her composition performed.

14 April 2019

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