Almost ever since I started playing the flute, I have found that getting away from it all for an intensive flute course for a few days is a special pleasure. So I am delighted to have hosted at Les Hallais, for the second year running, the flute course entitled "In Search of Inspiration" run by Wissam Boustany, international soloist, chairman of the British Flute Society, and general good guy. Running for a week, involving flute players of any age, nationality, aspirations and standard, it's a true festival of flute-based music-making. It's also a great opportunity for me to meet old friends and make new ones.
We held our end-of-course concert last night, and it was a great success. Everyone on the course played, and Wissam also presented a piece. Although I don't formally participate in the course, Wissam was kind enough to invite me to play as well. The programme covered styles from Bach to contemporary via Latin-American, and also included a piece by one of the course students.
It's held in the pretty local church at St Pierre sur Erve, and I transport one of my pianos there for the event. This is harder than it might sound, achieved only with the help of some local muscle, co-ordinated by the mayor. The mayor rode on the other edge of the trailer, to balance the piano
The audience comprised locals, the mayor and other dignitaries, with a special showing of some of the brits from the area. We were treated to a reception of sparkling wine after the event.
I am often troubled by performance nerves that can kill my performance, and I find it frustrating that this prevents me from communicating what I love about the music. But this time, for whatever reason, although I had felt increasingly nervous (and played correspondingly badly) leading up to the performance, when the time came for me to play, I was up for it.
So despite the stress of the situation that everyone feels, I think I played musically, which is the main thing. Yes I know I fluffed a note or two, the intonation was dodgy in places, and for a few bars the piano and I were walking separate paths, but well, it worked anyway. Perhaps it was down to the special atmosphere of the course.
Now everyone's gone home. I'm exhausted, but I have great memories of a bunch of wonderful people and fabulous music-making. And if you're one of those people reading this - thank you for a special week. It seems too quiet now.....