Kids sit around a table with big smiles
Participants enjoying lunch at The Hub
Posted by Erin Lancaster
Tuesday 8th January, 2013

NMC DAY TWO: OVERTURE

The day began the way every day should begin - with the tuning of the harpsichords. While harpsichordist extraordinaire Erin Helyard efficiently made sure the camp’s two harpsichords were tempered (no mean feat in this extreme heat), Bach still holds the record at tuning (20 minutes and without a modern tuner).

If yesterday was a day likened to the tuning up of an orchestra, then today could be likened to the consolidation of tone with everyone adjusting to the new camp environment from new beds, daylight saving (for those arriving from Queensland), locating rehearsal venues, meeting new desk mates, getting together with new chamber music partners and playing Wagner perhaps for the first time.

It was a day of unexpected encounters, running into string chamber groups at seemingly every corner getting some practice where they could, including in the hallways of the Schultz building making the walls vibrate with Vivaldi. 

The day’s highlight was gathering in Elder Hall for the Meet the Director session with Elizabeth “Libby” Wallfisch introducing herself and her (many) loves, every word infused with her trademark enthusiasm. “Music has been the passport to my life,” Libby told us. When asked about her what it was like to be famous, she assured us, “The only thing famous means is that you’re working.” She sees a musician’s calling as that of guardian and storyteller with a “duty to discover the magic in the music we play, keeping our emotions oiled to help make the music come alive”.  

Libby dedicated the camp to the “greatest of the great composers”, JS Bach, and explained her reasons for choosing the music in which we are all to be immersed over the next two weeks. The German city of Leipzig provides a musical focal point: it was the home of Bach and links us to the other composers on the program - Schoenberg, Elgar, Stravinsky and Wagner.

Along with her words, Libby shared her music, playing for us Adagio from Bach’s G minor Sonata, unaccompanied on her period instrument, and his G major Sonata accompanied by Erin at the harpsichord.

Everyone went away to practice and to sleep, inspired to learn as much as possible from the past masters on the program and the present masters acting as our guides for camp.

- Erin Lancaster

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