Following our Audience Award at last year's Fringe Festival, Thomas and Mary-Jannet performed as a duo at the amazing Utrecht Early Music Festival at the TivoliVredenburg Grote Zaal, as part of the "Fabulous Fringe" series. We performed our new duo programme 'From Caledonia to the Capital' , which is the product of our recent research and visit to the Friends of Wighton in Dundee, including some beautiful unperformed works, one by a fascinating itinerant composer, Walter Claggett, who spent time in Edinburgh and London in the 1760s. And of course, so many more Scottish tune sets and variations - and beautiful airs by our favourite James Oswald. The concert was a wonderful experience: initially, we were nervous about performing in such a large venue (the concert hall seats over 1,000!) but during our sound check, we realised that this wouldn't be a problem. The acoustic in the Grote Zaal is just perfect - sound carries over quite a distance, and because the audience surrounds the stage (fantastic!) no-one is disadvantaged by being miles away from the performers. We were treated like royalty, with volunteers from the festival on hand to help us at every turn. It is the volunteers which really make the Utrecht festival the very best experience a performer can have - they are so passionate about Early Music and give so much of their time and energy to make sure this massive festival runs smoothly.
One of the wonderful benefits of performing at Utrecht is the artist's badge, which entitles the wearer to free entry to any concert, providing there is free space. This year, Tom and I decided to make a short holiday, and stayed a few days longer on either side of our concert, attending several concerts each day! Every moment was so inspiring - the lunchtime harpsichord recitals were particularly impressive, and there was a beautifully wide range of Josquin des Prez on offer! The highlight, however, was undoubtedly the opening evening concert, in which the audience was divided into 4 groups, each starting at a different venue. At each venue, each group was treated to a 20 minute performance by some of the groups performing at the festival - and in between, was led, pied piper style, to the next venue, accompanied by live music! Our concert was recorded for later broadcast on the Dutch radio station, Concertzender Nederland - here's the link to listen to the full concert. Our performance starts at 40 minutes in!