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Blog Archive: July 2007

passionately successful weekend

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Categories: clarinets
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Cambridge Clarinets was terrific! It’s hard to convey the benefits of this annual event but I can safely say that all those who take part value it for the musical content, the human interaction and the opportunity to take time out to simply be and to see ourselves in the context of a much bigger picture. Yes, it all sounds rather navel-gazing, but that would be a completely wrong impression. Everyone is there for the others and without each and every one it would not have the same impact. The surroundings are tranquil (except when we are playing – but even then there are moments of the deepest stillness within all the activity) and the food is sensational – literally! so much so that we are thinking of putting together a recipe book of 14 years’ worth of inspirational eating! The music was inspirational too – 3 out of the 5 works were by contemporary British composers, one by a twentieth century composer and the last one a new arrangement , so ‘live’ was very much the order of the day. Geraldine gave some really good sessions on technique and ‘how to play better’ in all sorts of ways. She recommended a set of tone studies which were enthusiastically received so here they are if you are interested: Time for Tone

We have 10 coming for dinner this evening so this will have to be a short post. Actually we have 4 dinners in the next 6 days, so if it weren’t for music, food would be the abiding passion in this house, not forgetting drink as well.

Cheers!

Sarah Rodgers

passionate preparations

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From 4.OOpm this afternoon is the annual Cambridge Clarinets weekend – a professional engagement which over some 14 years has grown into a tradition where 12 entusiastic clarinettists gather together to be coached by Geraldine and conducted by me. It is an occasion which has given us all so much over the years. Yes, the purpose of the weekend is to play as much as possible and we manage to get in around 20 hours and in the course of that to explore a fair bit of new music – we usually have a newly commissioned work or arrangement to tackle; but it is also a meeting of hearts and souls – we share a lot, debate endlessly, laugh copiously and sometimes shed a tear or two – all the stuff of humanity which is very heartening and, again, it happens because of the music. We see each other in this grouping, only on this one occasion each year, but when we meet, we just pick up where we left off – there is a flow, a continuum and no awkwardness. The theme this year is breathe, listen, feel and Geraldine and I have been preparing thoughts and ideas which embrace golden section, fibonacci, zen and other spiritual origins. Geraldine in particular has been writing her own approach to playing the clarinet and this is going to appear in instalments on tutti over the coming weeks. Cambridge Clarinets will be the test-bed for this and no doubt they will have a lot to say about it. There is plenty of clarinet music on tutti, so there will be lots of references to useful resources for musicians. Keep an eye out. Hope you have as passionate a weekend as we do – I’ll blog about it next week.

Sarah Rodgers

passionate about composers

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Categories: music profession
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Today is the Board meeting (yes I know I seem to be writing a lot about these, but they really are board meetings and not bored meetings!) of the British Academy of Composers & Songwriters where I am a director and chair of the Concert Executive which looks after the interests of classical composers. I suppose I have been doing something of the sort for about 15 years now. Anyway, the Academy has around 2,500 members including famous names such as Paul McCartney and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, all of whom are composers, songwriters and lyricists, British or living and working in the UK. It is a fascinating melting-pot of creative talent with a great deal of accumulative passion! I have a lot of fantastic friends there and we have many interests and issues in common. Quite a few of them have pages on Impulse or recordings and sheet music on tutti . Here are a couple of examples – composer David Bedford who has just written a piece for the passionate Cambridge clarinettists I wrote about recently – more to come on them after the weekend; and Timothy Salter, who is a Prof. at the Royal College of Music and has a great output of CDs under the label Usk Recordings . OK, well I’m off to defend composers and their rights – this is the internet so I had better not get started on that one!

Sarah Rodgers

passions for wednesday written on tuesday

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I’m writing tomorrow’s blog today as I have just remembered that I am leaving too early to write it tomorrow! Ok this is a prophetic blog – tomorrow I will be attending an mcps-prs-alliance Board meeting – don’t ask me what that is, I wrote about it in yesterday’s blog – well the one I have just written today, but when you read this as tomorrow’s blog it will seem like yesterday! Terrific stuff going on at the Alliance – lots of schemes and web functionality to make it really easy to licence music whenever, however, wherever you use it – and yes, sorry, but you do have to pay when you use music otherwise the guys and girls who created the music (composers of course) don’t earn from their works. After that, have to spend some time preparing for Cambridge Clarinets. Now if you think I’m passionate about music, you should meet this bunch. Yes it is the annual weekend with nigh on 20 hours of playing music by Bach, Bedford, Coleridge Taylor, Hart and Wilson – and, yes, right again, lots of contemporary composers there. In fact you can check out David Bedford’s website and buy his CDs on tutti we do after all, as our strapline says, bring you closer to classical. Enough prophetic blogging, but don’t forget, even though the date says tuesday, this is really Wednesday 25th July. More on Thursday.

KBO,

Sarah Rodgers

passionate confession

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Categories: composing today
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I can’t believe the last post was in January!

My problem is too much, too big, too often – rather like over-eating, but in this case the bites are chunks of work that are demanding to chew. Take a typical day: start at 7.00am with a quick round of emails for overnight sales from around the world on tutti and then crosscheck these with transaction reports and backing; deal with customer queries and problems (not many of those thankfully!); pick up threads of unfinished items from yesterday or even the day before or even the week before, or in this case, 6 months before! – brief pause for sigh on passing thought that I will probably never catch up – yes that happens EVERY day – and then brighten up at thought that I can cross a few items off the ‘to do’ list. Most days there is a meeting to attend or to prepare for and this can range from a Board meeting at the mcps-prs-alliance (I’m a writer director on that one) to the management group at local church for community centre project (I’m chair of that one!) Spend some time updating pages on Impulse – hundreds of marketing and promotion-hungry composers and performers! Dash out to get to meeting – probably late (but only five minutes. Would love to stay for lunch, but, ‘no’, dash back to pick up some more threads. Prepare contract for latest commission – lovely opportunity to compose a new work for thriving choral society – chorus, string quartet and harp – can’t wait to get started on that one (been saying that for a few months now, but have promised myself to get going in August – not too far around the corner!) Have a big think about developing tutti to include itunes – really important step for classical CD suppliers – talking of which, there is a brilliant Szymanowski (that’s shoe-man-of-ski)on the tutti homepage at the moment – here it is: Complete Piano Music

Oops! have I remembered to eat today? and so it goes on. Anyway, I’m not asking for your sympathy, just a bit of slack in the fall off from blogging. Am now going to work this into the early morning routine. I know, you’ll believe it when you see it. Well I always did like a challenge – passionate about it you might say!

Sarah Rodgers

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