Charterhouse International Music Festival

Since 22nd July I’ve been at the Charterhouse International Music Festival. I’ve been having quite a wonderful time!

The weather has been excellent so far, if perhaps a little warm for playing. Last night brought thunderstorms and today has been far more comfortable.

I’m enjoying lots of playing, and catching up on some much-needed sleep. The horn teacher has some useful things to say and I’m learning a fair amount from him and the other instructors, but I must also note that much of the benefit of being here is simply not having to deal with all the ordinary day-to-day chores for a while: the only transport to think about is a 15-minute walk across the grounds, and meals are all provided with no preparation or washing-up to do.

I am thinking a bit about how I might take some of the benefits of a situation like this and create a similar environment when I get back to London, if not while I’m at Trinity (as I seem to have managed to find a structure that roughly works) then certainly afterward. A period of intensive study for a few weeks every term might be do-able without letting too much of the life-maintenance stuff slide, if I prepare carefully beforehand.

It is quite a busy schedule, with a masterclass, three rehearsals and three concerts per day. So far the horn masterclasses have been with Michael Thompson, who I’d not met before getting here. Tomorrow he isn’t going to be here, so we get Anthony Halstead instead.

Lots of playing! On the 23rd I played the Hindemith wind quintet, on the 24th I played the Reinecke trio (op. 188) for horn, oboe and piano. Today I played two movements of the Jenner trio for clarinet, horn and piano in the lunchtime concert, and the Ligeti Six Bagatelles in the evening concert. Tomorrow I’m due to play the Hindemith E-flat althorn sonata on the tenor cor in the 6pm concert and the Dvorak Serenade in the evening concert, but I’m also hoping to play some transcribed Brahms lieder in the masterclass; another student here helped me with some translations, since I only had the German with me.

Concert attendance is perhaps a bit sparse, but with three concerts a day this is understandable. Much as I’d like to attend all three concerts, I can’t quite handle that and the rehearsing, so I settle for one or two.

I’ve been keeping a paper diary of specific thoughts on masterclasses, rehearsals and practise sessions and I’m finding it quite useful, but it runs to 23 pages so I’m not going to type it all in here. I do think I’m going to start keeping a similar logbook (with perhaps a bit more structure), because running through these things at the end of each day is a very good way to remind myself of the important points and also helps me plan the next day better. I’m not sure whether I’ll do that in digital or deadtree format. Digital has a lot going for it in terms of ease of entry, but a paper diary can be carried with me and updated anywhere I happen to be, which could be good. I can see myself filling in details while I’m commuting home in the evening, for example, and that’s much harder to do on a computer (I don’t have a laptop cheap enough that I’m willing to use it on public transport).

Right, at the moment there is a queue for the computers so I’m going to go fill in aforementioned diary with today’s events, then go and get some sleep. If I’m feeling particularly energetic I might try to get out to a field and watch some of the Perseid meteor shower, but I can probably catch more of that next week in Somerset.

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