Saturday, 30 August 2014

BFS Convention 2014

The biennial convention of the British Flute Society was held this year at the Warwick Arts Centre. For me it's a "must", an opportunity to submerge myself completely in the world of the the flute and its music, renew friendships and make new ones.

Accommodation was the student digs on the Warwick University campus.  It's perfectly adequate for such an event and is lifted from looking like a 1960s council housing estate by careful planting schemes.  The many varieties of mature and nearly-mature trees that were everywhere around were especially effective.

The convention progamme included as many as ten formal recitals that you could go to each day, ranging from serious to light-hearted (Supercalifragilistic for a quartet of baroque flutes, anyone?) plus workshops (e.g. circular breathing for flutists), lecture-recitals, and informal performances of flute groups in the foyer.

Highlights?  Well I'm always willing to learn things, and the piccolo has always sounded to me like it well deserves its nickname of "The Shrieking Stick".  But not when it's played by Peter Verhoyen it doesn't.  He gave a wonderful performance of delicate and refined playing of modern pieces I had never heard of.   You can fnd him on Youtube:

I've always been suspicious of much of the music of Arvo Pärt, and had considered his piece Spiegel im Spiegel to be devoid of merit, until the interpretation by Christopher Lee, with Richard Shaw on piano, moved me to tears.  He's on Youtube too, but not playing that piece.  (You have to add "flute" to the search or you get that other Christopher Lee.)

I am currently studying one of Piazzolla's Tango Etudes for flute.  The Tango tradition is one of aural and improvised composition, and is in danger of losing much in being written down.  (Like ragtime piano music.)  So it was a treat to discover ethnomusicologist Dr Jessica Quiñones and her insights into these pieces in her lecture recital.

Other highlights?  CDs at 80% off from a shop clearing down their stocks.  You can hardly get them at that price at a car boot, and there are never flute ones there anyway.  I bought lots.

Lowlights?  After the Saturday night concert (the last night that most people are staying) the bar was shut.  I mean, what???  That's the time you want to kick back, have a few drinks and circulate with your friends.  Big opportunity lost.

And I decided to miss playing in a big flute choir in order to see/hear an interpretation of Jouers de Flute by Rousell (a piece I like and have played), only to find that the programme had been changed.

But, it was a good convention, I'll be there if I possibly can, in two years' time.


CherryPie said...

It sounds like you had a fabulous time at the Flute convention.

I played the recorder from an early age and then progressed to playing the clarinet. I regret I haven't picked up my clarinet for many years.

I also used to make and play bamboo pipes. A rewarding experience, sadly missed by me.

Here is a few old photos of me growing up with music...

James Higham said...

Warwick, Warwick. Hmm, doesn't sound French to me.

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