Friday 8 August 2014

It’s nice to be revisiting our Purcell disc after such a long time away from it – if I say so myself it’s sounding rather good. It’s so diverse that I’ve still no idea about a running order: I’m just listening to it on shuffle. Alison and I are going to sit down and listen through properly on Sunday to see what we think.

There’s a US classical music magazine that when you put an album out, reviews it, and before publication offers you the chance to become its cover star when the review appears by buying lots of advertising. This is fair enough really: the concept of advertorial isn’t exactly scandalous. But the review that we were just sent for our Hume disc includes the unfortunate phrase ‘Walker’s excellent emission’. It’s almost worth paying $3000 just to see that in print.

If you’re in Scotland and haven’t decided to vote Yes yet, please read this.

Here’s the view of Loch Lomond at the end of an after-dinner bike ride on Monday night. 19 miles to the loch along canal, old railway line and river, then just time to hop on the train at Balloch and be back for an early bedtime.

looking up the loch from Balloch

Saturday 2 August 2014

I’m not often grateful for a day of torrential rain, but today it meant that I could get on with a job which is at least a year overdue, and make some serious headway into the first edit of our Purcell’s Revenge album, recorded last April. So far there are 21 tracks done and just 2 to go, so with a bit of luck and some more rain, I might be in a position to start putting together a running order by tomorrow night.

Next Sunday I’ll be appearing on Clare Salaman’s Early Music Show on Radio 3, with some Concerto Caledonia-minded thoughts on How to be HIP: that’s Historically Informed Performance rather than 1950s youth culture.  As you can imagine, Clare and I have plenty to talk about so I think I might have made a bit more sense than I usually do when a mic is put in front of me. As a childish statement about the BBC’s political bias and the pathetic current state of its News & Current Affairs, I decorated said mic before leaving the studio. Also next Sunday on Classic FM, we might just find our way into Catherine Bott’s programme too.

Monday 21 July 2014

You may have thought that Robert Mackintosh was an obscure Perthshire/Edinburgh violinist from the 1780s whose several attempts at mainstream success were doomed to failure, but ... you were wrong. As of this week he is now an Essential Classic, because Radio 3 says so. Our Mackintosh album is 'Essential CD of the week' every morning on Essential Classics, the kind of recognition I think Red Rob would have enjoyed very much ...

Wednesday 25 June 2014

Well, the iPad did its work a treat on Sunday, and I could enjoy basically being at a huge party for Shirley Collins: photos here and here. The Belles of London City were spectacular out in the street at the interval, Stewart Lee turns out to be a rather good singer and guitarist, Olivia let me join in There’s Not A Swain, I got to play the clapped-out old piano at Café OTO rather than the shiny Yamaha, and Alasdair managed not to get too freaked out when we sneaked off to a corner to rehearse, and Shirley appeared at his shoulder to sing along in his ear. There was also something rather wonderful about everyone on stage (and in the audience) wearing Shirley Collins badges. After Tobias Hume the other week, the pressure is now on to come up with a different badge for every gig.

The whole extravaganza was to raise money for this very special project, so go on, give them a few quid (or a lot more if you have it).