Behind the Scenes

Those who go to a concert probably think that the musicians turn up on the day, possibly rehearse a bit, and it's all over. So I thought it might be interesting to know a little more about what goes on ahead of the event. Being butler, doorman and bottle-washer it’s my dubious privilege as both performer and producer to be responsible for both the big picture and the niggly details.

Two and a half days last week were spent hand copying orchestra parts from the score for Catrine’s arias. Why is this necessary? Because some of the pieces we’re doing don’t have hireable or downloadable sets of parts, and even for those that do the cost of hiring quickly mounts up; and the object of the Cherubim Mozart Plus Weekend is to make money for Cherubim not pay publishers.
    I started my professional career in 1970 as a copyist for Sandy Faris, who at that time was doyen of the West End arrangers. It’s amazing how skills you pick up over a lifetime become relevant again. In those days there was no tippex, and the neophyte copyist’s friend were rolls of self-adhesive blank single stave (5 lines), newly arrived from America, you could stick over errors and rewrite. Photocopying was new, prohibitively expensive and there were only a few specialised bureaux that did it. Even tho life is infinitely easier these days with scanners and music writing software, sometimes you still just have to roll your sleeves up, get out the quill pen and cover sheets of manuscript paper with legible dots and dashes. Easy-to-read parts = happy musicians = good performances.

You can hear the result on Saturday 5 September at 1930 in Tisbury Parish Church when Catrine Kirkman is the soprano in a programme titled Obbligato Extravaganza, where each song also features an instrumental soloist, accompanied by Cherubim Chamber Soloists and directed by myself.
    For example Handel’s famous Let the bright Seraphim showcases oboist Mana Shibata. A highly unusual aria by Cherubini (patron composer of Cherubim!) from his opera Medea features bassoonist Cat McDermid. We have Gilda’s exquisite Caro Nome aria from Rigoletto by Verdi featuring the two flute of Suzie Watson & Octavia Lamb. And for fun we need no excuse to finish with Johann Strauss’s delightful Laughing Song from Fledermaus. Do follow these links to hear the music.

    The second half is a performance of Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet featuring Joseph Shiner and the Consort Quartet.

To find out about the music over the whole weekend: http://cherubimtrust.org/

Tickets from £9, children free. To book http://cmt.eventbrite.co.uk/ (card fees apply) or in person Tisbury Post Office