Wednesday 9 April 2014

Conquering notes and practising sections

Britten Sinfonia Academy have been hard at work over the last couple of months, focusing on performing chamber music and also the new work by Philip Cashian written specifically for the Academy.  Claire (Britten Sinfonia Academy flautist) tells us all about what the Academy have been up to;

Britten Sinfonia Academy met for three days in February to focus on some chamber music works chosen for us; these included Spohr's Nonet in F, Dvořák's op.77 String Quintet, Schubert's Trout Quintet, works for two violins and piano and works for cello quartet. As the flautist, I played in the nonet, and also Bachianas Brasilieras by Villa-Lobos, a piece for eight cellos and soprano- I played the soprano part. Most of the three days were spent in our chamber groups working on our pieces, with input from a Britten Sinfonia tutor in each group who coached us through the pieces. It was fantastic to be able to explore some new chamber music and experience working in a small ensemble, as a few of us hadn't had many opportunities like this before. Everybody contributed ideas to how we wanted the piece to sound, and everybody's instruments and playing styles were taken into account. At the end of the weekend, each group presented the piece they'd worked on and the rest of us gave them feedback. During the course we also worked on some of the orchestral pieces: Beethoven, Stravinsky and Bartok. It was my favourite course of the year so far!

In March we also met for three days. This course was orientated around working on the repertoire for the summer concerts. The woodwinds were given a new piece: Milhaud's wind quintet La Cheminée du Roi Réné. We spent most of two of the days working on this as well as a wind quartet by Françaix, while the strings practised the Bartok Romanian Dances and some Christian Woolf exercises. The Trout Quintet and Villa-Lobos groups also got some time to practise their pieces.

On the final day of the course, Philip Cashian came to work with us on his new commission Strix. We spent the day conquering the notes and then practising sections in more detail. Phil gave us pointers on how we should play the particularly difficult passages and how we should apply our musicality to the music. By the end of the day, the piece we all had a hand in creating back in October had come to life. It was a fantastic weekend, and we're all really looking forward to performing our repertoire in the summer concerts!

Flute, Britten Sinfonia Academy

Find out more about Britten Sinfonia Academy here.

The Academy will be performing in Cambridge (1st July) and Norwich (5th July) for our At Lunch 5 concerts. For more info click here. The programme will include the premiere of Philip Cashian's new work, Strix. You can help support Philip's Academy commission through Musically Gifted.

Find out more about Philip Cashian's new work in this short film

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