Our early starts are paying off, with a productive rehearsal this morning on Arnold Cooke's Nocturnes. This song cycle in five parts is a new piece for us as an ensemble and seems an appropriate choice given its thematic content and the natural surroundings at present. We have been treated to some spectacular moonrises in Townsville, which have provided some literal inspiration for the first movement, The Moon. In addition, our proximity to the river and local birdlife has helped influence our textual and musical approach to the subsequent movement: Ascending We Hear The Larks, River Roses, The Owl and Boat Song.
Perhaps being surrounded by so many highly talented professional musicians has influenced our rehearsal technique, but I feel we have been taking a much more detailed approach to text and questions of ensemble balance and interaction. It has certainly been inspiring watching the creative process of some of the artists performing at the festival!
Our morning rehearsal was followed by a very interesting concert held in the St Margaret Mary Church, featuring two radically different works inspired by the seven last words of Christ (one by Haydn, the other by Eastern-European composer Sofia Gubaidulina). Both works were successfully meditative and profound and were seperated by an evocative performance of a Jewish prayer themed work (composed by Betty Olivero), and sung by Valda Wilson.
Jacob was back page-turning for the afternoon. This has proven an excellent opportunity to mingle with other artists at the festival and pick up some fascinating insights into the industry and chamber music circuit.
Alison and I took some time to explore the beachfront before returning to the rehearsal rooms for another rehearsal to finish the day, this time on Schubert's Auf dem Strom. Again, our approach has to me seemed more thorough and efficient, with the textual meaning of the work becoming more apparent to us with every extra moment spent in rehearsal.
Tomorrow we perform Auf dem Strom in our first public appearance at the festival, in masterclass with David Selig.
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