So, of course musicians love to play in large concert halls to big audiences - it's true. But, as Early musicians, and particularly as a duo, we also so much enjoy the frequent opportunities we have to perform in more intimate venues, where the acoustic is often far more suited to our instruments, and we can forge a brilliant atmosphere, involving the audience in our narrative and in the emotional range of our repertoire. Sometimes, we may only have 20 listeners, but the connections we can make with each person are stronger and perhaps more 'real' than if we were standing far away on a stage, with spotlights shining d own from high ceilings.
In the last few weeks, we have given two such concerts, in two small, but very different locations. The first, at the Three Towers Festival in Farmborough, was a coffee morning concert at All Saints Church, (see photo above). The acoustic was absolutely beautiful, and we performed a mixed programme, featuring Handel and other musicians whom he knew in London in the early eighteenth century! The audience was impressively enthusiastic for a concert at 10.30am, helped, of course, by lashings of tea and cake during the interval! Although we intended to head straight back to London, (we had a morning flight to catch), we succumbed to the pull of beautiful Bath, and ended up in Bath Abbey, where we enjoyed a wonderful organ recital in Bath Abbey by Marcus Sealy. It was his final organ recital (he retires after over 40 years in the job!), and a wonderful occasion. Serendipity for sure. One of the joys of a musical career is travelling, visiting new places, getting to know like-minded people - and this was definitely a day to remember!
Yesterday, we performed in Kent for a private event, a 70th birthday celebration - always a joy to be guests for such occasions! Our hosts owned a beautiful Kirckman harpsichord from 1775, beautifully restored, and it was an absolute privilege to perform our later Baroque repertoire with such a distinguished instrument. The living room in which we performed made for a wonderful concert venue, with over 20 audience members sitting everywhere, including up the stairs! This truly felt like Thomas Britton's coal loft in Clerkwell, where he entertained Handel and the best composers of the eighteenth century in one of the first concert series in England! In such an intimate venue, we enjoyed communicating with the audience, and introducing the context of each piece - they seemed to appreciate it! A particularly special end to the programme was some Scottish music, including 'The Lass of Peatie's Mill' - one of Barsanti's Scots Tunes. A perfect way to spend the evening.