Two Moors Festival Atéa Ensemble Residency

Each week, Two Moors Festival artistic director Penny Adie will be here on the blog, letting you all know just what’s been going on down at Festival HQ in Devon.

I never ever thought that five wonderful professional musicians could eat quite so much. The Atéa Ensemble tucked into food like there was no tomorrow – salmon pie, curry (made by my husband), pasta and as for homemade jam, well, let’s say so much was consumed that I have lots of spare jars for the apple jelly that is about to be churned out of the preserving pan. We were absolutely thrilled to see people with such healthy appetites. It was good to see them enjoy all meals in the day and we reckon they needed it with the amount of hard work they were putting into their self-inflicted rehearsal schedule.

The Ensemble was preparing for the ARD Competition in Munich which takes place now. The extensive repertoire required has demanded an intense rehearsal period; something that they could get in our studio where the acoustics are brilliant, there is space and, above all, no interruptions from external noise. There is total freedom here and so on a sunny afternoon, flautist Alena together with oboist Philip Haworth walked up the hill to pick blackberries. Horn player Chris Beagles, together with clarinettist Anna Hashimoto and bassoon player Ashley Myall, not to be out done, zoomed off in their car to investigate a bigger crop further into Exmoor. The resulting hoard meant a hearty blackberry and apple pie for pudding.

The Ensemble gave an informal concert at the end of their stay. I always think how cruel it is to begin a recital with Mozart but that is what the competition demands and sensibly they decided to do the same thing here – it worked well! Taffenel, Barber and Seiber soon followed, with the whole programme giving the audience a great evening and an insight into unknown works.

The Two Moors Festival Residency Project is going from strength to strength, so much so that we are setting it up on a formal basis. Word is spreading fast about them and artists, at all stages in their careers, can make the most of the opportunities of what is on offer. There has to be a reason for doing one whether it be preparing for a recording, a recital, working on new repertoire or with a new ensemble. All expenses are paid and wine is laid on for those who wish to collapse at the end of the day. Racing Demon and Articulate are popular pastimes to accompany the alcolhol!

I hope the Atéa Ensemble has benefitted from their experience here and we cross fingers for their success in the competition.

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