Jon Farey’s London Sinfonietta Academy Diary – Day 2

All this week, London Sinfonietta Academy participant Jon Farey is writing a daily account of his experience. The course, consisting of workshops, masterclasses and rehearsals with brilliant young players auditioned from music colleges across the UK and coached by London Sinfonietta Principal Players, culminates on Sunday 13 July at 3pm in the Musicians of Tomorrow performance at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design. Tickets for the concert are free and can be booked here

In the meantime, here’s what Jon made of his second day.

The day began with legendary horn player and all-round nice guy Michael Thompson leading a brass sectional. This included some fun and games reading from a vastly full score to the Xenakis, amongst going through all the other pieces we are working on this week. It was really interesting, in the Xenakis in particular, to figure out where we were together and where we were fractionally different to each other.

Mike Thompson shows us a page of the score to Xenakis’s Jalons:

During the lunch hour I managed to have a wander around Central Saint Martins and the surrounding area. Seeing all the contrasting structures (traditional against modern builds) got me thinking about how OG by Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen (getting there with the pronunciation) is put together in a similar way to Kings Cross and the surrounding area – it takes Don Giovanni as the influence, finds quotes from it and then takes these quotes as the base material for the piece. Kings Cross has the skeleton of the original buildings as the starting point and uses and adapts these to intertwine with modern builds. To continue the architecture in music theme, Pierre-André Valade came out with a quote of the day this afternoon. Along similar lines with the Xenakis, he said that Xenakis is the architect, with the notes and patterns being his building blocks. He then puts these together to create the piece.

The inside of Central Saint Martins:

More of the inside, where old meets new:

Inside Kings Cross:

Kings Cross

This afternoon, as well as the Xenakis, we had our first run through of Rune Glerup’s Divertimento – the piece involves several passages where no actual notes are played by the wind players, but instead we are directed to blow through our instruments to create a colour… It was interesting to see how this fitted in the piece and how effective it was!

I’m currently in the Platform Theatre, where the concert will take place this Sunday 13 July at 3pm, enjoying the London Sinfonietta players rehearsing Birtwistle’s Silbury Air. Named after Silbury Hill in Wiltshire, the biggest artificial mound in Europe, the piece explores the ‘juxtaposition and repetition of static blocks’. After six hours of rehearsal it is nice to be able to put my feet up!


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