Autumn days

25th November 2015

Greetings from Barcelona! I’m here to sing at the stunning Palau de Musica, and it’s a concert celebrating John Rutter’s music, conducted by the man himself. What a dream! Catrin Finch is the soloist in Suite Lyrique and we’ve enjoyed a good catchup in this beautiful city: dwy ferch o Gymru, two Welsh girls far from home.
It’s been nice sitting still for a bit in the Spanish sunshine; the autumn has been a lovely whirlwind. After what I fondly called my ‘sabbatical’ in August - otherwise known as a mad month running around after two crazy small boys - I hit the ground running in September with a recording for the amazing Murray Gold. He’s been working on a new ballet, ‘Snow White’ in collaboration with Carol Ann Duffy and balletLORENT, which went on tour round the UK in October. I sang on the soundtrack, and stirring stuff it was too. I first worked with Murray on the Dr Who Symphonic Spectacular and I adore his music - with or without Daleks!
Speaking of soundtracks, I was excited to hear that the music I recorded for the PS4 game ‘Everybody’s gone to the rapture’ has been up for awards across the board. Jessica Curry composed the haunting score, and it’s been acclaimed in the gaming and classical world. I’m quite enjoying singing on soundtracks - though not having a Playstation means I haven’t even heard the finished product of this one, nor of Bloodborne, the other big Sony hit. Hm, Christmas list maybe…
In other developments, you may have seen that I’ve been lucky enough to be made presenter for a BBC Radio 3 series. ‘Early Music Late’ is on Sunday nights at 2235 and brings you fantastic baroque concerts from around Europe, with either me or Simon Heighes introducing the music. It’s an absolute thrill to be a regular voice on the channel. I feel honoured and grownup! I popped up elsewhere on Radio 3 last month, speaking to Sean on In Tune. V nice to be back in the studio and especially to chat about a wonderful CLS concert I sang in, in Southwark Cathedral. Stephen Layton conducted me and Alex Potter in Bach’s ‘Tilge Höchste’, his version of the Pergolesi ‘Stabat Mater’. It’s more intricate than the original and definitely more Lutheran in its harmonies, but still very moving. Odd to sing Pergolesi in German though - or at least that was how it felt.
And the rest is, you’ll be glad to hear, the usual round of concerts. I loved being invited to sing in the Wales Women’s Institute anniversary concert at St David’s Hall, with Catrin again and Rhys Meirion, who was woefully outnumbered! And singing with Annette Bryn Parri at the North Wales International Festival in St Asaph was a delight, as it’s been years since we got to perform together. Great to see the new Only Boys Aloud branch too, and of course to catch up with lovely Tim Rhys Evans. These last few weeks have been busy, with Florilegium concerts in Swansea and Tonbridge, CLS in London and Armonico Consort in Cardiff. I also got to sing with my hubby again, in a twenty-fifth anniversary concert for Côr Meibion Dyffryn Aman. Penblwydd hapus, bois!
And the most fun I’ve had this year was being back with the Sixteen and Harry Christophers. In November we performed at the Wigmore Hall and Bath Abbey, a programme of Monteverdi’s 1650 sacred works. We recorded it too and there was enough to fill two discs! Look out for the release next year. I’ve just been so happy being back where I started out, and knee-deep in the music I love.
More of that music ahead: the festive season starts with back-to-back Messiahs in Cambridge, London and Cardiff, then a Christmas special with the RPO in Manchester. Too early to wish you all Nadolig Llawen..?

Don’t forget to follow Elin on Twitter for daily updates and chat: @elin_manahan

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