Well if there isn’t any decent weather and sunshine around at the moment to warm your summer, at least there’s been plenty of beautiful music! I’ve been lucky enough to perform, record and present a whole heap in the last month or so, and it’s been pretty varied too.
After recovering from lurgy (for which I still blame the rain, and am gutted I missed out on some fabulous concerts with the Academy of Ancient Music), I jumped back into action in Radio 2’s Friday Night is Music Night. Recorded at St David’s Hall, the concert featured the BBC Concert Orchestra, Cerys Matthews, Wynne Evans and myself, and was presented by Ken Bruce, so I was slightly in awe! What a fun gig it was too, it really is as relaxed as it sounds in the broadcasts. From there I went to Morriston Tabernacle for a concert with the MRC Male Voice Choir, along with Trystan Llyr: a wonderful evening of classical hits and Welsh favourites. Then a concert in St John’s Smith Square of Bach cantatas, which were part of the Lufthansa Festival and broadcast live on Radio 3, and it was a rare chance to get to appear on stage with my hubby! And the start of June saw me in Rhiwbina in Cardiff, giving a recital with the fabulous pianist John Reid as part of Beulah Church’s ‘Concerts at the Crossroads’. It’s not often I get the chance to put together a programme entirely of my own design, and ‘Songs of Love’ was packed with my favourite songs, from Purcell to Schubert to Quilter to Novello.
In the midst of all that I also flew up to Edinburgh to record in the Usher Hall, with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. The piece was a little-known work of incidental music called ‘The Starlight Express’ (no roller-skates involved, I’m afraid) and the other soloist was the wonderful Roderick Williams. Truly beautiful music and a lovely day’s recording - can’t wait for the disc to be released now, on Chandos.
The last few weeks have seen me busily presenting. Last week was Thierry Fischer’s last concert at St David’s Hall with the BBC NOW and I presented it live from the hall on Radio 3. It featured Strauss’s Alpine Symphony, and Mozart’s Piano Concerto 22, which was played by Angela Hewitt - what a treat to meet and watch her! And this week I’ve been putting together the documentary on the opera ‘Mandela Trilogy’, which will be broadcast on Sunday June 24th. It was performed by Cape Town Opera Company at the Wales Millennium Centre and it absolutely blew me away. Do tune in if you can.
So now off I go to prepare a choral masterclass, which I’m helping to lead this Sunday at LSO St Luke’s, with internationally acclaimed composer Eric Whitacre. If I’m particularly nice do you think he’ll write me a song..?!
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