Monday 14 September 2009

Colchester Heritage Weekend

The orchestra have just spent the weekend in Colchester as part of the National Heritage Weekend. Performing in historic buildings in Colchester throughout Saturday and Sunday to create a unique musical tour which included five new commissions inspired by the buildings (Colchester Town Hall, Tymperleys Clock Museum, Castle Museum, Bourne Mill and Hollytrees Museum) the new works were performed in. I was based at Bourne Mill with two percussionists, Owen Gunnell and Oliver Cox who performed a new work by Colchester based composer, Michael Spearman. Bourne Mill is a beautifully preserved 16th century watermill set in tranquil grounds beside a stream and millpond. The weather was fine for the weekend making it a lovely place to sit and watch the ducks and geese playfully skimming the water in between the short performances. As well as performing the new work Owen and Oliver also played some jazz and classical music to the delight of audiences and the local allotment society who were having a fayre at the mill on Saturday as well (Oliver also took the opportunity to buy some weird shaped vegetables for his dinner that night).

On Saturday evening all the musicians came together for a concert at Colchester Arts Centre. The first half gave audiences the opportunity to hear the new works afresh and an audience favourite was tabla player, Kuljit Bhamra’s new work for violin and tabla performed at the Castle Museum earlier in the day. The evocative combination of violin and tabla thrilled the audience with many wanting to hear the piece again. During the rehearsal for the evening concert Owen and Oliver had a go at trying to play the tabla under Kuljit’s instruction – one of them definitely got the hang it better than the other (I won’t say which!) and we’ll have some photos of them giving it a go here on the blog tomorrow. In the second half of the evening Jacqueline Shave led the orchestra in performances of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, Arvo Part’s moving Fratres and Rautavaara’s The Fiddlers.

Claire (Marketing Director)

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