Spring Activities (2020)

2020 – The Year Thus Far

The diary was looking good in January, even better in February, with so much to look forward to:

• Opera to play in included Flying Dutchman and La Boheme;
• a Gala Concert at the Festival Hall, and many other concerts and events.

January’s highlight was playing with an exceptional group of musicians led by Violinist George Mattar. The programme was two Haydn Symphonies: No’s 12 and 49, and Bach’s Oboe and Violin Concerto. Seriously good fun!

Mid-February meant a concert with the London Phoenix Orchestra at St John’s Smith Square and the start of rehearsals for “Flying Dutchman”. Very challenging but clearly going to be fun.

Suddenly, as if from nowhere, Covid-19 arrived and the world suddenly closed down.  March had begun so well but ended with “lockdown”.

Rome and Florence

A long-planned visit to Rome and Florence in April was not to be.  Tickets were bought for the largest exhibition of paintings ever at the Scuderie del Quirinale devoted to Raphael, Great Master of the Renaissance.  Would have been nice.

Portrait of Baldassarre Castiglione 1513, Raphael

Ghent and the Van Eyck Exhibition

Before the planned Rome & Florence trip, I had hoped to visit Ghent. The city was due to celebrate the restoration of Van Eyck’s magnificent altarpiece “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb” with an exhibition at MSK, Ghent’s Fine art Museum.  In previous visits I had seen some of the restoration work taking place.  Another visit that was not to be.

A Dramatic Transformation

Photos below taken in November 2017 MSK

Years of patient and highly skilled work by restoration experts has revealed so much.

London too had some very fine offerings with an exhibition of all six of Titian’s masterpieces painted for Philip II of Spain.  Again: cancelled but apparently to be extended and open very soon!!

The lockdown led to my commencing instrumental teaching using various online platforms, but for my full-time playing colleagues in orchestras, this has been a complete disaster.

Some Thoughts on On-line Teaching

• It can work, but internet quality varies and this makes for difficulties.
• May yet change the way some of my teaching
is done.
• Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, Teams etc all work
well for speech.
• Some children may make excellent progress,
but others struggle.
• Pupils need Orchestras and Chamber Music in addition to individual tuition.
• It’s not the same as working one to in the
same room.
• Sooner we can get back into schools and
restart, it will be so much better.

Some Conclusions

Writing this at the end of May, halfway through the Summer term that wasn’t, I am hopeful that September will bring a return to some sort of normalcy for teachers and schools. When my full-time playing colleagues can restart work is possibly another question.

For now, we have to live with this Covid-19, hope for a Vaccine and better times.

Another Fantastic Ride

I enjoyed a very good ride today: Out to Horsham with an enjoyable stop off at the new Gin Distillery, just south of Dorking, on the return leg.

Our cycling route in detail …

Winter Activities (2019)

I recently attended a fabulous concert at St John’s Church, London on December 8th featuring the Palace Opera Orchestra, with conductor Jonathan Finney.

Wagner: Tannhauser: Overture/ Venusberg Music

The programme included:

Wagner: Tannhauser: Overture/ Venusberg Music – Act 1 scene 1

Liszt: Dante Symphony


Venus / Zoe South

Tannhauser / Edward Hughes

“The Palace Opera – a serious company
with talented singers.

The Times

Summer Activities (2019)

After a very busy term of teaching and playing, another visit to the Correze, a relatively little known part of France south of Limoges and north of Brive-la-Gaillardia, was a very  welcome change.  For cyclists, this area is often used as a stop-off on the way to the Pyrenees. Seven rides took place over a nine day period with two climbs: Monts Gargan and Suc-au-May.

Andrew Adams Cycling 02

Andrew Adams Cycling 01   Andrew Adams Cycling 03

Andrew Adams and Friend 01

Andrew Adams - Cycling Map 02

Andrew Adams - Cycling Map 01

The Tour de Godwin (2019)

Autumn Activities (2018)

Saturday, 6th October

Concert at St Johns URC, New Barnet raising money for repairs to the organ.

Organ Concert Flyer

Tuesday, 30th October

London Phoenix Orchestra at St John’s, Smith Square.

Elgar’s Cockaigne Overture
de Falle  Nights in the Gardens of Spain
Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherezade

Saturday, 10th November

This is looking very exciting with an invitation to play in
The Armed Man’ by Karl Jenkins, subtitled ‘A Mass for Peace’.
It is described as a powerful and compelling account of the descent into, and the terrible consequences of, war.
It was commissioned for the millennium by Britain’s Royal Armouries and dedicated to the victims of the Kosovo crisis. The Benedictus has a solo cello part, high up in the instrument’s register and will give me plenty to work on before the performances on Saturday 10th November!

It’s a very appropriate time to perform this piece as there have been many events throughout 2018 to mark 100 years since the end of World War 1.  Last year, I visited the Passchendaele Museum at Zonneke and was deeply moved.

Remembrance Hand 01

More info at: https://www.passchendaele.be/

Summer Activities (2018)

August 4th to 11th

Escaped the heat of London to greener and cooler climes.

A week in Edinburgh, two rehearsals a day at George Heriot School, bang in the centre of the city and during the International Festival.  Free in the evenings to explore Fringe and other events.  What could be better!!

View of Edinborough Castle from George Heriot School

Some of the really great music played:

Dance Suite
Till Eulenspiegel
Firebird Suite (1945)
Suite of English Folk Dances
Fantasia on Welsh Nursery Tunes
Leonore Overture no 3
Academic Festival Overture
Pelléas et Mélisande symphonie
Symphony no 8
Symphony no 1
Symphony no 3
Symphony no 1

Foster & Partners ‘Quartermile’ development in the south of the city.

Monday, 27th August

Played for a Wedding at Farnham Castle

Helen and Martyn after the ceremony.

Music – Bob Chilcott’s ‘Like A Singing Bird’ for 3 part choir
and keyboard with the cello part specially arranged by
Angus Cunningham.