This year it was Glasgow’s turn to host the Festival and we enjoyed a great day with a selection of sessions to suit everyone. Our guest principal conductor was Mary Tyers who proved to be a charming and enthusiastic tutor bringing music to life. She had chosen Delalande’s Chaconne to open the proceedings and later led a session with Three Touches by Russell-Smith, two completely contrasting styles that showed the range of recorders to perfection.
Neil Eckford selected Eileen Silcock’s Playford suite. It was a fun group and we laughed a lot especially when Neil told us all to slow down a bit that the bass players be allowed to breath at least occasionally!
Michael Graham conducted with patience and enthusiasm and chose the Marshall piece –Made in Wales. There were three movements and the third, though most challenging with the offbeat quavers, meant you couldn’t stop counting for a moment whilst trying to keep an eye on the conductor.
Isobel Luke’s programme made us focus on music by Bruckner and Hassler. We worked hard and at the end of the session, enjoyed playing our ‘concert’ performance of both pieces. With Mary Bonsor as our conductor we happily played Purcell’s Pipes are Sweet upon a Summer’s Day and A Modern Benedicite by Briggs. We finished up fitting in extra music Mary provided, which made us feel, that we accomplished a lot in the allocated time.
Pamela Flanagan’s session played Mozart’s Notturni. The first took us through the only one which is definitely known to be by Mozart, the others being in various states of “attributed to”. It was classic, elegant and satisfying music – if you could accommodate the standard of play! The next notturne was bizarrely written and did not sound like Mozart at all, the elegant and the odd.
Marg Hall produced a Suite especially arranged for the Festival, The Second Klezmer Collection, in the musical tradition of the Ashkenazi Jews. The music ranging from raw to plaintive, not easy, but well worth the effort.
Lynne Hope conducted the final section for the advanced players. We played a new suite, Three Tudor Cats. These were originally composed for organ but had been arranged for recorder group. All were in the style of a Tudor dance and celebrated the character of her three cats. Lynne ably led us through the stylistic quirks of each dance style culminating in a lively performance. Her cats must be real characters.
There was so much to choose from that it was difficult to make a decision as to what session to attend.
We were ably supported by the shops with all the temptations of music from all genres and a stunning selection of instruments that made the mouth water. Oh for a blank cheque!
Anthony Barrett made the journey to Scotland to great effect with his pop-up repair shop that was a welcome addition to the day with his advice and mini on the spot repairs.
For the final mass playing Mary chose Eileen Silcock’s composition Flow, a beautiful and reflective piece that we recorded to send to Eileen in the hospice in appreciation of her contribution to music. I hope we did it justice as our thoughts went out to our friend and mentor who has given so much to all of us who play recorders. Sadly our friend died shortly afterwards and is much mourned and missed.