Monday 4 Feb – from Euan Murdoch (CEO of CMNZ)
Over the weekend I had the opportunity to experience the essence of chamber music as an artist and audience member.
What we know is the more engaged we are as listeners, the more we savour and enjoy the experience. Sometimes this is heightened by knowing the music or the musicians already. The finest performers draw us closer to the music and involve us as if we are discovering the magic together for the first time.
Hearing Colin Carr perform all six Bach Cello Suites in the Cathedral yesterday is something I will treasure as a listener and as a cellist. It’s moments like these that remind me of a wonderful line I’ve heard and reused many times, “…the world neatly divides into two parts, those who play the cello already and those who want to”!
Our attention was drawn to the musical and emotional progression between the beginning and end of this extraordinary journey. His transitions and contrasts were masterful. Between the improvisatory Preludes and opening Allemande dances, the Sarabandes that sit at the heart of each Suite and the characterful Gigues that cap off and capture the unique character of each one.
Brilliant, thank you!
Earlier, 14 enthusiastic and brave musicians joined Justine, Rebecca, Victoria and me for two days to workshop and perform Mozart’s Dissonance Quartet. The biennial ProAm held in the stately grandeur of Fairfield House brings together a wide range of string players with ‘masters’ playing alongside ‘students’… not that different than when this work was first performed by Mozart- the student on viola, with his teacher Haydn on violin! Our main pearl of wisdom was to listen and stay engaged at all times. I wonder what advice Haydn had for Mozart. Straight after our workshop performance we were treated to hearing the Penderecki String Quartet’s version in concert. We listened so intently that we all felt like we were up on stage too.
So it seems that the more you invest, the more you stand to gain.
Regardless of whether you are a performer or not, I’d encourage you to learn as much as you can about the music before you experience it live.
On that note, it’s nearly time for another full day of listening and learning at the Festival.