Cello? Is there anybody in there?

Well I've finally left the Isles of Scilly to spend my summer on the mainland travelling around 9 different festivals. It could be a long summer! The first few days away have been reasonably eventful, involving moving house via public transport, and attending a Cello and Piano Recital, not quite up there with Glastonbury, but more on that in a bit!

Having been a part of Radio Scilly since August last year I'm quite sad to say goodbye, I've had some great times, some stressful times, and plenty of early mornings! The experience itself has been great, and the response that I've had from people around the Islands about my work for the station has certainly helped plump my ego to a degree. Although most people who know would probably say that I'm quite outgoing, in reality I'm actually quite quiet when I'm around groups of people. However, I'm always listening and absorbing interesting stories! I think I've been able to develop my journalistic skills quite a bit over the last 9 months, and I look back to when I started and I think how clueless I was back then about interviewing people. Now I feel quite confident about it, especially that I can get all the right information out of people. Sometimes without them realising!

Being given the responsibilities of looking after the station and presenting the morning show ahs been something that was a good challenge, and probably gave me some of the best memories from the job. It was always great when people came up to me in the street and said how much they enjoyed the show - it made the early mornings worth it!

So now to Bristol, and a summer of festivals that includes the following, possibly in order: Glastonbury, Cornbury, 2000trees, Glade, WOMAD, Big Chill, Bloom, Beautiful Days, Shambala. Something like that anyway! Of course I'll be updating my blog after each festival letting you all know what the mud/bands/work was like. IF you want to skp ahead to my thoughts on this then go right ahead and ignore my review of the Cello and Piano Recital that I went to!

The first stop before Glastonbury though was to attend a Cello and Piano Recital with Amy and her family. Amy's Dad owns a cello made by the John Betts school c.1820 and has loaned it to the Guildhall School of Music. So with five of us in the car we zoomed down to Shepton Mallet for the performance.

We went to a pub when we arrived called the Bell, it reminded me of the pub from Withnail and I - "We want the finest wines available to humanity, and we want them here, and we want them now" Lovely old barmaid who looked like you squeeze cider out from her face, she didn't appreciate us ordering coffees! There was a beauty old boy sat by the bar who said hello to everyone who went to the bar, I asked him how he was doing, but got no reply, I think he was already saying hello to the next person. So tearing ourselves away from the pub we headed to church to listen to Alice Dixon on the cello, and Bojana Dimkovic on the piano.

The cello is certainly an attractive instrument, and having never seen one played first hand I was looking forward to the performance and I can honestly say that I was not disappointed one bit. .

The first piece by Ernest Bloch entitled 'Prayer' from 'Jewish Life', was dark, brooding and emotional. The interchange between piano and cello was very good, and I felt that this piece was instantly arresting, even though perhaps a little too melancholic for an opening piece.

This was followed by 12 variations on a theme from Handel's 'Judas Maccabeus' composed by Beethoven. A lengthy piece, again with masterful exchange between piano and cello, and the melody of this piece really came through in the performance from the cello giving it vibrancy and an energetic quality.

The final selction before the interval was solo piano piece composed by John Ireland called 'Moon Glade' and 'Scarlet Ceremonies'. This was a great individual performance from the pianist Bojana Dimkovic whose showmanship behind the keys stood out as much as her playing, which was exceptional. She finished with a flourish that typified her performance, then stood and smiled to the audience before retiring behind a large oak door at the back of the church.

After the break we were treated to the final two pieces of the evening, the first being a technically difficult piece by Henri Dutilleux which on performance looked incredibly hard to play. This piece seemed chosen to demonstrate the technical ability required to play such a composition. There were times the cello was being played with back of the bow, strings were being plucked, and at times the strings were being played in way that many rock guitarist would have admired. Melodically it was at polar opposites to the Beethoven piece, but nonetheless it was enjoyable and was a spectacle of intricacy.

The final piece of the night brought piano and cello together again for Bohuslav Martinu's variations on a theme of Rossini. Taken from Rossini's opera 'Moses in Europe' this compostion involved some interesting interjections between the cellist and pianist. The pace and rhythm of this piece was interesting to follow and I enjoyed the interplay between the two instruments as the pace varied before finishing empahtically.

And just like that it was all over and we drove home, with the car smelling of sweat peas that were given to us by Amy's Gran and Grandad.

As I write this now it's just after half four on Monday afternoon, and in 24 hours I'll be at Pilton Farm enjoyed the start of Glastonbury 2008. It'll be interesting to experience it from the perspective of working, which is something that I've never had to do before, however it should be good fun working up at the sacred space chatting to random mash heads making sure they're all ok. Mind you it could be me that needs reassuring! I'm most looking forward to (hopefully) seeing Massive Attack and also Shlomo's Music Through Unconventional Means. Apart from these two I guess I'll just wait and see what happens, always the best way I think!

So drop by again this time next week to find out how it all went!