All posts by The Two Moors Festival

Two Moors – Food for thought from Artistic Director Penny Adie…

It seems a long time since I wrote a blog and firstly, I may have forgotten how and secondly, I don’t know what to write about it. My mind is blank.

 

I do not want to mention anything to do with Brexit (we’re all fed up with the word – although I realise that, for musicians, it will have effect on travel to Europe, visas, cost and so on.

 

Music Education – could someone come up with a better name? It’s enough to put anyone off as it makes me think of the 3rs.

 

Statistics – endless lists of figures – 3000 achieved the stone-age project, and so on. While I recognize these are valuable tools towards making successful funding applications, what does this tell us; that young people have become passionate about music and desire above all else to be immersed in it?

 

Producing different and often ridiculous schemes just to attract funding.

 

Commissions that have no afterlife. These can be very expensive.

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Doing workshops with so-called musical games that are supposed to ‘educate’ youngsters into loving classical music. You might be interested to know that when we have done workshops, it’s Bach that appeals more than anything else.

 

The word Gig is normally associated with jazz. Why has it become the norm for classical concerts to be called this? Is it because it is meant to grab a new kind of audience?

 

The two politically correct projects to my mind has been the success of BBC Radio 3’s Ten Pieces Project and likewise, Julian Lloyd Webber’s magnificent El Sistema scheme. These are opportunities like no other and those involved need to be congratulated on their foresight, courage and brave enough to forge ahead knowing that both would require a considerable sum of money in order to maximize their potential.

 

Now, here IS what I will Blog about –

The following things which DO bring intense joy and lasting love of music to children are:

 

Playing alongside professional artists in a professional orchestra. The impact and rewards from doing this are immediate and at the same time, give a thrill to the adult players as they know the long and lonely hours they have spent practising have paid off so that children as well as those of A level age are inspired to carry on scrubbing strings, blowing reeds, and hitting drums. The results are mind blowing and to such an extent, that one of the winners of the Festival’s Young Musician competition said the experience of being part of an orchestra of high calibre was the deciding factor as to whether she should pursue music as her career or do something else instead.

 

Taking part in a competition such as that set up by the Two Moors Festival whereby stress is removed through awarding four equal prizes instead of one. We provide an audition environment in an old barn in the depths of Exmoor and by giving chocolates to the candidates. We endeavour to create an atmosphere that is so relaxed that entrants often comment on it and although not winners, come back repeatedly to gain benefit from playing in this environment. The formula wins hands down every time.

 

Giving children a mini masterclass in their chosen instruments as part of their competition auditions.The four professional adjudicators give ideas, show them that an audience is on their side, tell them not to be afraid, show them how to project. The one thing we never do is make comments on the teaching. This is most important and none of our business!

 

Offering children/secondary students the opportunity to hear live classical music – Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn among many othes work a treat. Going to a concert and making sure you get tickets just behind the percussion or double basses so that they feel as if they are taking part.

 

Getting students to present a concert ie as a broadcaster would do on the radio and on TV. Of course they would have to listen and become familiar with the work prior to doing this.

 

They can have the chance to see what it’s like to stand in front of an ensemble, hold the baton and wave it around. One does this with prior warning to the musicians concerned.

 

Put questions to the professional artists and do mock interviews.

The list is endless…

 

No doubt this blog will cause debate and I will be shot down in flames but I FIRMLY believe that these are the things that will bring a lasting love and joy that music brings to the lives of children. They will grow up having been inspired, to realise there is a difference between listening and hearing music, to experiencing all the different emotions and effects that music can have on their lives and in many cases, it will also stimulate children into wanting to play an instrument.

 

This is more or less how I grabbed music with open arms and never looked back. It has remained with me for over sixty years giving me inspiration, joy, fun, a sense of humour, helping me through crisis and sadness: many chances to make new friends; given me confidence; making me able to express myself without inhibition; to make a noise; to explore music from different countries as well as their related cultures; experience religious music; to be aware of the different genres – opera,

film music, telling a story; learning about Shakespeare, poets, lyrics, screen writers, dramas, musak, being aware of sound – phone signals, beeps, noise, shouting and how Beethoven must have been so distressed at his lack of hearing.

 

As you can see, the list is endless.

 

So now over to you

 

Penn Adie

January 2018

 

PS

I now realise that I have talked about the very things I said I wouldn’t!!

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Thank you!

Well, what a festival! Yet again, we are so grateful for everyone who was involved in this year’s festival – there are so many volunteers and people behind the scenes that it would just not be possible to carry on without.

Of course, the standard of music this year was as exemplary as ever with so many wonderful comments from audience members.

We must rest for a few days before planning 2018 – keep an eye out for news announcing next year’s programme!

Thank you!
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A word from our Artistic Director, Penny Adie

Build up!

I can’t be the only Artistic Director to be so consumed by the build-up to an arts event that no matter how hard you try, sleep seems to be a bit thin on the ground. Not that it matters because you can make up for it afterwards – and I certainly do in spade-loads. A bath armed with a good book is a luxury, as is sitting in front of the fire glued to Bake Off (with supper perched on knees), not to mention walking the dog and seeing one’s friends. These are all lacking currently but would one have it differently? No of course not; this is all part and parcel of what running a festival is about and particularly the Two Moors that is unlike any other in Britain.

There is a wonderful passion attached to this event. This has been present from the outset when my late husband, John and I set it up as an antidote following the devastation caused by Foot and Mouth disease. Since then it has blossomed into a national festival of which – and I am not afraid to say – he and I were (and I am) justifiably proud. It is our dedication and commitment that have manifested themselves and has spread to our audience members who come year on year showing their devotion to the type of concert that is offered to them. The Trustees have also shown their love of the organization and but for them and their sheer hard work, the festival would not be where it is today. It’s worth bearing in mind that all members of the Board are busy people who give up inordinate amounts of time to keep it afloat; who put forward ideas to make sure it continues to develop, offer opinions on whether it steers along the right course and to use their influence on broadening our horizons.

With only two weeks to go before kick-off, keeping an eye on ticket sales is very important (they are currently most encouraging) and it’s always interesting to see the surprises along the way. Some concerts that you least expect to, sell overnight while others you think are going to have a capacity audience, don’t fare well at all. Strange how the public mind works! Inevitably there are one or two who whinge at the prices. They don’t realise that their seat would cost in the region of £85 were there no sponsorship. They never stop to think that the cost of going to a football match would work out to be far more expensive!

Almost the last thing on the ‘must do’ list before opening night is to galvanise the press into action. The amount of work this entails is vast. Social media comes into its own these days and if you don’t do it, you’re really sunk. One Tweet can, when spread, reach thousands of people. Even if no one purchases a ticket, the profile enhancement is worth ££££££s. Both the national and regional press have to be bombarded with articles in hopes they will be printed near the front of the paper rather than alongside, say, the motoring section. BBC Radio 3, and our super media partner, Classic FM, are great at mentioning the festival on air and of course, we spread flyers to any shop of pub that will have them.

So it’s a case of wait and see and hope that this year’s music-making will give a thrill to those listening as it has previously. It will be wonderful if does then I can have my longed-for bath!!

 

Penny Adie

September 2017

An exciting pre-festival event!

We have been very lucky that Laurence Beckford has agreed to talk to us about his fascinating job as a wood and stone carver. He is at present working on John Adie’s grave stone and it seems appropriate that we will be able to hear his talk.

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Master Carver Laurence Beckford lives and works in Dulverton, and is one of only handful of master carvers and apprentices in the country. Laurence’s work is in high demand, and he has worked on many prestigious projects, including the restoration of the fire damaged Grinling Gibbons carvings at Hampton Court Palace and the replacement of the carved enrichments in the State and Octagon Dining Rooms at Windsor Castle (where Laurence was the ‘signature’ carver). Laurence’s talk will give us a fascinating insight into the rigorously detailed work involved in the restoration of fire, weather and vandal-damaged carvings. He will also talk about his passion for traditional ‘hand cut’ lettering in slate and stone. If you would like to see more of Laurence prior to his talk you can visit his website http://www.beckfordsartworks.co.uk

6:30 pm
Fri, 29 Sep 2017
Filleigh Village Hall, EX32 0RS

Tickets: £10 (includes wine and canapés)

It will be a very interesting evening, as a fund raiser for the Festival. There will be plenty to eat and drink so do join us if you can. Tickets from The Two Moors Festival website, or from the Box Office 01392 665885.

 

In conversation with…

To get to know some of our wonderful artists a little better ahead of this year’s Two Moors Festival, we have invited some of them to share the answers to a few short questions so we can learn
more!

Now up we have Julian Perkins from Sounds Baroque….

 

 

 

Have you ever visited the Two Moors area before? 
Yes. I’ve been lucky enough to perform for two previous festivals in a number of enchanting churches, and I fondly recall attending ritualistic May Day celebrations on Dartmoor when visiting my aunt and uncle near Tavistock.

What did you want to be when growing up?
I liked the idea of being an architect as it is one of the few disciplines that combines science and art, and I also flirted with the notion of being a carpenter as I enjoy creating things and adore the smell of freshly-sawn wood. In reality, though, music has always been my burning passion.

Who’s your inspiration?
I am blessed in having a wonderful array of friends and colleagues who continue to stimulate – and provoke – me. There is, however, one stand-out experience that continues to inspire me: singing as a treble in Mahler’s ‘Symphony of a Thousand’ under Klaus Tennstedt.
Although I was a dreamy child, Tennstedt captivated me for reasons I have never fully understood. He was a grumpy old man, riddled with cancer, who was flailing about in a seemingly haphazard manner on the podium. But I have never, ever heard an orchestra or
choir sound like they did with him – and this has nothing to do with his relative fame. I can only put it down to his complete identification with the music and his utter determination to transmit it to his fellow musicians. Humbling.

Ambition or talent: which matters more to success for you?
Ambition. Talent is useless if you are lazy – and I never believe those irritating people who perform brilliantly yet claim that they never practise.

What is the greatest achievement of your life so far?
On a personal level, it is becoming a father to our two indefatigable twins, Oscar and Freddie. On a musical level, setting up Cambridge Handel Opera is proving to be quite a feat.

Bonus: What advice would you give to young musicians?
Always start the day with a good breakfast.

What are you looking forward to most when performing at this year’s festival?
Bringing the irrepressible Giacomo Casanova to life with a wonderful team of performers…..and a hearty pub meal!

 

Catch Julian and Sounds Baroque on the first day of the festival this year:

Sounds Baroque – ‘Casanova’s Conquest’

Performance: Fri, 13 Oct 2017, 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

 

In conversation with…

To get to know some of our wonderful artists a little better ahead of this year’s Two Moors Festival, we have invited some of them to share the answers to a few short questions so we can learn
more!

First up we have Oliver and Owen from O Duo Percussion….

Have you ever visited the Two Moors area before?

Oliver: Yes, to play for the festival (twice)
Owen: Yes! We’ve played at the festival on a few occasions now…..I’ve also been on the edge of Exmoor to an excellent pub for recreational purposes! 

What did you want to be when growing up? 

Oliver:  When I was quite young, a doctor! Then later, a musician….
Owen: From the age of 14, a percussionist! I didn’t really think about it before then or at least I can’t remember!

Who’s your inspiration?  

Oliver:  Probably my Grandad, who came from a really poor, working-class family in Dundee and became Principal Cellist of the LPO!
Owen: In music, no-one really…. But I try and put into perspective being a musician, by thinking of those of have trickier/life threatening jobs, like my brother in the army.
 

Ambition or talent: which matters more to success for you? 

Oliver: Both
Owen: Has to be both! Whilst I’m a believer in anyone can do it, I think you need that something extra to go up a level, that doesn’t mean to make a career. But, I think the best musicians have both

What is the greatest achievement of your life so far? 

Oliver: Musically, I guess playing most of the UK’s biggest concert halls with O Duo, after forming the duo at College.
Owen: Deep! Making a career (ie. Paying the mortgage, buying a house, and being able to pay for the family to live!) out of being a musician.
 

What are you looking forward to most when performing at this year’s Two Moors Festival?

Oliver: Being in a beautiful part of the country….
Owen: Being in one of the finest parts of the country, with great audiences.

O Duo Percussion
Owen Gunnell marimba
Oliver Cox marimba
Performance: 11:00 am Tue, 17 Oct 2017
Venue: St Pancras Church, Widecombe-in-the-Moor, TQ13 7TA

Tickets now on general sale!

The time has come that all tickets are now on general sale for this year’s Two Moors Festival! You can buy tickets both online, over the phone and in person.

CBSO Classical Music Festival
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

We already have some performances nearly sold out so please do book soon in order to not miss out.

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Two Moors Festival team