HelenEdith's Blog

The minutiae of my life, plus website updates and book reviews

Posts Tagged ‘quintet’

Entry for August 06, 2008 – Wind Quintets

Posted by HelenEdith on August 7, 2008

There was chamber music organised for Wednesday evening. Last year, I think I went to Terry’s place to play with a combined strings and wind group, but this year Margaret did that and I went to Gerry’s and Mary’s place, where we had a wind quintet.

We started out with Agay’s “Five Easy Dances” to warm up, and then moved on with varying degrees of success to an Iolanthe arrangement by Graham Sheen, a set of variations by Gordon Jacob, and an arrangement by Emerson of one of Mozart’s String Quartets for wind quintet. Our horn player, Janet, has violin as her first instrument, and she commented that it was obvious that the piece wasn’t originally written for wind. It made enjoyable playing though, and as the classical repertoire for wind quintet is a bit on the thin side, it’s always nice to get an arrangement which will “work”.

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Entry for September 30, 2007

Posted by HelenEdith on September 30, 2007

Today I met up with the wind quintet. We hadn’t met since the spring, as the five of us were unable to find a single Sunday morning all summer when we were all available! I think that one or two of us were a little rusty, so we didn’t attempt anything too challenging – although having said that, the first piece we played contains a bassoon solo that goes up to high D, which I nailed. I’m dreading the day when my plastic reed disintegrates: I’ve got another two, but they just don’t play well; and I need to toughen up my lips to switch back to cane.

I sat around and did very little when I got home from the quintet, but there was tennis on EuroSport later in the afternoon and I watched that. It went to three sets, with Ana Ivanovic defeating Daniela Hantuchova. It was quite a close match, and the commentators thought that now Daniela has improved her ranking that she’s getting to play the top players more often in the closing stages of tournaments and that next year she might win some of those close matches.

My laundry remains undone, and I haven’t ordered any more memory cards for my camera. They’re both jobs I’m going to have to do tomorrow: the laundry because I’m running short of shirts; and the memory cards because my switch to shooting RAW+JPEG means that I require higher capacity cards.

My new tax disc needs to go on my car in the morning. It will be 1st October, and my old disc expires tonight.

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Entry for August 05, 2007 – Marlowe Music Week has begun!

Posted by HelenEdith on August 5, 2007

This evening, we got Marlowe Music Week off to a flying start with chamber music at the Youngs’ place.

We started out with a string group upstairs and a mixed string, wind and piano group downstairs, which is where I was playing. Our double bass player (who is also a jolly good clarinettist) had heard an arrangement of Dvorak’s Serenade for Strings in E major, Op.22 arranged for piano, two violins, viola, double bass, clarinet, horn and bassoon and he’d tracked down the sheet music, which took a lot of effort. Apparently Dvorak started writing this serenade for this instrumentation, but the piece in this form was lost, so the arranger was trying to recreate it.

I found the bassoon part a bit tricky as it had a lot of very low notes. They are probably easier to play on the bottom string of a cello than on a bassoon, where they require a lot of dexterity with the left thumb!

Anyway, we played all the way through the piece and it sounded like Dvorak’s Serenade, although our rendition was not entirely according to the printed music on our stands!

Then we stopped for some cool drinks and sat out in the garden in a lovely summer’s evening and chatted while we took on liquid.

We went back inside and reformed into a different groups with all the string players gathering downstairs and a wind quintet retiring to the upstairs back room, where we played Gordon Jacob, an arrangement for wind quintet of a Mozart string quartet, and a short fun piece where Beethoven’s 5th had been given the Bosa Nova treatment!

It was an enjoyable start to our week of music making.

The picture isn’t related to music: it’s Stephen holding Ace the owl earlier in the day at Sedlescombe.

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Entry for April 29, 2007

Posted by HelenEdith on April 29, 2007

Last night I started making a bread pudding loosely based upon a recipe on Delia Smith’s website. We couldn’t find a dish of the right dimensions to cook it in, and as Stephen had brought home two loaves of stale bread, I decided to make 2.5x the original recipe and put it in a big dish. Then I found the bread wouldn’t all fit in one mixing bowl, and had to split it. I had a third smaller bowl with my dried fruit in it. Delia recommended marinating it in brandy, but Stephen didn’t want to waste booze in case the bread pudding wasn’t a success, so I just soaked the dried fruit in water. Then I decided that it was getting too late and put clingfilm over all three bowls and left them until this morning.

I woke up quite early this morning, which is surprising, as I’m not a morning person. I came downstairs to complete the bread pudding preparation, and found that Delia’s direction to add the melted margarine, brown sugar and spices and then beat the bread mixture with a fork really does take the lumps out. Then I added the dried fruit. I’d managed to consolidate all of the mixture into one bowl by this time. As I tipped the bowl with the dried fruit, nothing was happening and then all of a sudden, the whole lot shot out! Luckily most of it landed in the mixing bowl, but some ended up on the sink and on the floor. My startled “Oh!” was loud enough to draw Stephen downstairs to see what was going on.

Anyway, I finished mixing the bread pudding and got that into the oven and then got myself under the shower. (Apart from the normal reasons for ablutions, I think I had some very sticky spots where the dried fruit had got me during the bread pudding making project.)

Then it was down the M20 to Sutton Valence to meet the wind quintet for an hour and a half of music making. Lynne had brought along arrangements of “The Midako” and Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet” which we hadn’t seen before. They were by the same arranger as the complete “Pictures at an Exhibition” that we tackled last time we met. We made a good attempt at “The Mikado” – we knew all the tunes, which was a good start. Then we moved on to “Romeo and Juliet” and surprised ourselves at how well we got on. We finished with a couple of bits out of “Pictures at an Exhibition” and then consulted our diaries to arrange another meeting. We found one date in late spring, and then couldn’t find a Sunday morning when we were all available until October!

The plastic reed I’ve been trying to break in isn’t good enough for quintet music and I switched back to my old and battered plastic reed that I’m trying to conserve. I really must get my lip into shape so that I can play on a cane reed – although if a plastic reed I was using in the last century is still playable, maybe plastic’s the more economical way to go – if only I could find another one as good. I think I’ll have to dare to take the scraping knife to one of the two that aren’t so good and hope that I improve it rather than ruin it. I’m sure I scraped the good one, but that was before I lost my reed adjustment book.

I made an incorrect route choice on the way home from Sutton Valence. I could see a queue forming on my usual exit from the A20 onto the A222 and decided to stay on the A20 to Fiveways and then come home via William Barefoot Drive. It was a big mistake, as I met the A20 tailback just after I’d passed the point where I could take the slip road for the A222 and I was stuck in the queue until it reached Fiveways. I think a car boot sale at Flamingo Park had just finished, which had filled the A20 up, and then to make matters worse, most of it was local traffic wanting to turn right at Fiveways and the lights just aren’t phased to cope with that amount of right turning traffic and that was just adding to the tailback.

I got home too tired to go back out looking for spring flowers before they’re all gone, so today’s picture is of a wisteria that I photographed a couple of years ago. Stephen has been by it in the last couple of weeks and says it looks pretty good right now.

Oh – and we’ve tried the bread pudding and it’s edible. I used Sainsbury’s Christmas spice and I’m not sure whether it’s got too much nutmeg, ginger or cloves in it, but I think I might try a different mix of spices next time. At least my soya flour did its job as a binding agent in lieu of the egg I deliberately left out and the bread pudding isn’t too crumbly.

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