The Kellie Consort, directed by Tom Wilkinson and patroned by John Butt OBE, is a baroque ensemble comprising young singers and instrumentalists with a connection to Scotland. I last worked with the Consort on Bach’s magnificent Mass in B minor in April 2016 (which you can read about here) and was thrilled to join them again in 2017, this time for a summer tour of Scotland.
The programme featured a range of exciting, rarely-performed works by composers including Vivaldi, Marcello, Corelli and Kellie. All musicians received coaching from our cello soloist Philip Higham and singers also worked with Robert Hollingworth (of I Faglioni and the 24). It was a privilege to work with both Philip and Robert on our repertoire and to discuss various aspects of baroque performance, including everything from ornamentation, to ensemble singing, to equal temperament.
I performed Sir John Clerk of Penicuik’s cantata for solo soprano “Miserere mei”. Although Sir John had been a pupil of Corelli, this particular cantata was unlike anything we had ever heard, with unexpected bars cropping up here and there and some very unusual progressions. However, putting it together was a really fun journey and we grew to love it by the end of the week; I’m hoping it will stay in my repertoire. I also performed as soprano soloist and chorus in Vivaldi’s “Beatus vir” (RV 598); this ended our programme at each concert and always left us feeling jolly!
The tour took us from St Andrews (where we had rehearsed for four days) to churches in Inverness, Fort William, Edinburgh and Glasgow, staying with friends and families along the way. Scotland is a beautiful country and the scenery was always picturesque; we managed to do a fair bit of walking around Edinburgh on our day off, including a brief trip up to Arthur’s Seat and Calton Hill. This was followed by a delicious dinner at the Mosque Kitchen on Nicholson Gardens; musicians certainly know how to eat!
I couldn’t have had a better time rehearsing, performing and working with everyone involved and I was very sad when this year’s tour came to an end. However, I’m feeling full of new knowledge about baroque performance that I can’t wait to put into practice. Many thanks to those who kindly hosted us on the tour and to our wonderful audiences, who gave us a warm welcome in every venue!