It’s been a while since my last blog post, but there have been lots of exciting things I’ve been working towards at the RNCM over the spring and summer terms.
Last week, I took part in the College’s Brodsky Cross-School Prize with the Lucrezia trio; we are soprano, cello (Mario Castelló Córdoba) and harpsichord (Anna Chiu) and have been playing together for our small ensemble performance module. We chose to perform Handel’s cantata La Lucrezia, which we’ve been rehearsing since last November and which we’re performing for our assessment at the end of May!
The Brodsky Cross-School Prize is organised by the RNCM’s Chamber Music department and is for ensembles that combine three or more schools of study (in our case, strings, accompaniment and vocal) or those that have an innovative or original performance idea. The final took place in Studio 7 and this year was judged by Petr Prause (the Artistic Director of the International Chamber Music Studio) and Tim Barber (trumpeter with the BBC Philharmonic, Opera North and numerous other ensembles).
We had a fantastic time performing and we all felt a great connection throughout the cantata. The subject matter focuses on the ancient Roman Lucretia (of Livy’s account): after she has been raped by King Tarquinius’ son, she speaks of her inner turmoil and suffering and ultimately makes the decision to take her own life. It’s an amazing piece of music and a real rollercoaster ride at nearly 17 minutes long.
We received lots of coaching from Roger Hamilton (RNCM Teaching Fellow in Historical Performance) and Alastair Hume (one of the founding members of the King’s Singers!) throughout the year, in addition to meeting up and practicing around once a week. It was a wonderful surprise to win the Prize and we celebrated with a delicious meal of tapas and some drinks the next day!
Historical performance has been a really exciting new area of study for me this year and I’m delighted that we are planning to work together again on more cantatas from the baroque period. Hopefully things won’t get too hot to Handel (I couldn’t resist…)
Many thanks to all those who taught and coached us for our performance, to the panel for listening and to the Chamber Music department for organising the Prize!