Although the weather didn’t look terribly promising on the morning of our final Swiss concert, we still ventured out into Lucerne for a walk and a spot of lunch, before heading to the Marianischer Saal to rehearse for our early evening concert. The hall, at the top of an old Jesuit meeting house, is quite spectacular, as were the views from our dressing room (see right!). Our concert was the first of the 20th Anniversary chamber music series, so we were treated to a drinks reception, at which we were able to meet and chat to many of our audience. They were a wonderfully friendly and enthusiastic group, and it was a lovely way to round off our Swiss debut!
Archives for October 2015
After an invigorating cycle round Kartause Ittingen and a hearty organic breakfast (which featured some delicious local strawberry juice!) we set off for Einsiedeln and our fourth concert of the tour. The views from the train window on our way up to the town were quite spectacular, and our concert venue, the Grosser Saal of the Kloster Einsiedeln, which we were told was similarly arresting, did not disappoint! The concert finished with a mad dash back down the hill to the station to catch our train to Lucerne (which we made with whole seconds to spare!) and on arrival we were treated to a delicious dinner at the home of Gerhard Pawlica, organiser of the chamber music series at the Marianischer Saal, before heading to our hotel for some well-earned sleep!
After a leisurely breakfast and a trip to the chocolate shop in the square, we set off from Zofingen for Ittingen – this journey involved four changes, with two trains, a bus and eventually a minibus coming to collect us from a deserted Swiss roadside! The travel was worth it, though: Kartause Ittingen is an incredibly beautiful and peaceful place, brimming with culture and fantastic organic food, all grown or reared on site. After rehearsal we were treated to dinner in the Kartause restaurant by Ursula Jones, our tour organiser, sponsor and irrepressible force of nature! (pictured right, with Guy and Ed) We then performed to a wonderfully receptive audience, before celebrating Emma’s birthday with a cake (preceded by some ridiculous distraction techniques to keep her occupied while the candles were lit!) in the green room and some well-deserved local beer: brewed on site, of course!
This morning we were taken to the Stiftsbibliothek St Gallen, where a private viewing of the Tchudi Liederbuch had been arranged. It was amazing to see the music we are performing in Tschudi’s own beautifully neat hand, with lots of annotations in the margins of almost every piece! No photos were allowed in the viewing room, or sadly in the amazing eighteenth-century Rococo library hall, but we did get a snap of the enormous over-shoe slippers that are mandatory footwear when visiting, to preserve the painstakingly-restored wooden floors!
Then on to Zofingen, for our concert in a converted cinema – the Alass has a fantastically intimate, relaxed atmosphere, very different to yesterday’s venue (but both equally wonderful!), which allowed us to bring out the more chamber-music-like aspects of our programme, and it was great to chat with the audience at the reception afterwards, with some Swiss wine, sausage and cheese in hand!
After a wonderfully intimate private concert for our Friends and supporters in London on Tuesday evening, we set off bright and early from Heathrow yesterday for Zurich, heading to St Gallen and the first of 5 Swiss performances this week. What an incredible way to start a tour! The cathedral in St Gallen is magnificent, and the beautifully warm acoustic was just right for our mixed Renaissance and Baroque programme, which also included our new commission from Matthew Martin, ‘Ave Virgo Sanctissima’. It’s no surprise that the music fit the building perfectly, as much of our programme is taken from the Tschudi Liederbuch, a manuscript music collection housed in the Cathedral’s library, which we’re being given a private viewing of this morning!