Wednesday, June 29, 2011

TBSI and Festival Montreal Baroque, part 1

Hello all,

Sorry to be gone for so long but I've been incredibly busy!

I've recently completed my third TBSI and am just finishing up two weeks at the Festival Montreal Baroque playing with la Bande Montreal Baroque before heading back to Ottawa in time for my birthday. It's been a very intense month musically and I'm very grateful for all of the lessons I've learned.

Returning to TBSI was a happy moment for me after spending another frustrating year (musically) at school. A group of friends, Alice and Valerie, asked to be put together in our chamber ensemble and were delighted to see that another friend of ours, Brandon, was assigned to be our harpsichordist. We performed Corelli's Op. 3 no. 1 with 2 violins, bassoon and continuo (not exactly kosher, but I think we pulled it off).

TBSI was quite a different experience from the last two years. This year, I knew about ten people before arriving and I found it much easier to make connections. It was a great social experience as well as musical and I hope to play with the many people I met sometime soon!

Of course another plus of TBSI is that it brings a bunch of baroque bassoons and baroque bassoonists into one place. An interesting twist to the bassoon section this year was that I was the only person playing on a bassoon that wasn't a Guntram Wolf HKICW, how boring! There's always been at least one Leslie Ross Eichentopf.

A great part of TBSI is the chamber music concert where every ensemble performs in two two-hour concerts in one evening. This year there were some solid pieces, two notable performances were  of Clerambault's Medee and Biber's Batalia.

Our final concert, held at Grace Church on the Hill near Toronto's St. Clair West station was, as usual, a large scale production. With over 100 people on stage, Tafelmusik combined with the TBSI Orchestra and Choir to perform a suite from Rameau's Les Indes Galantes, a Charpentier mass, a movement from a Zelenka mass, as well as a Handel concerto grosso. It was also the first time that my parents and godmother had come to see me play, which added to the special feeling I had for the concert.

That evening the orchestra and choir partied it up until the very wee hours of the morning sharing stories and saying goodbyes. Unfortunately for me, I had to get on a bus at 6am in order to make my first rehearsal with la Bande Montreal Baroque at 2pm. I caught about 2 hours of sleep before dragging myself to the bus station and catching my Megabus, in which I found it very difficult sleep any more due to the seats not being built to recline. Oh well, you get what you pay for.

Arriving in Montreal half dead, I stumbled to Susie's house and was whisked into a musical hinterland. What an amazing place! With famous (baroque) musicians casually walking in and out, casually conversing over the postal strike, the smell of freshly baked goodies, the constant sounds of an old house (creaking floor boards, door hinges squeaking, etc.), and my zombie-like state I felt I was in a dream.

More on this later...

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