Concert at Chute Lodge, Sunday 12 July 2015

Blog: Berkeley Ensemble at The Chutes

In our first ever blog post Gemma writes about a very special recent performance at Chute Lodge in Hampshire, featuring Living Floors by Laurence Osborn, one of the winners of last year’s New Cobbett Prize.

It’s not often that a cellist and a bassist get to perform a full recital as a duo and so Lachlan and I were looking forward to presenting such a concert at Chute Lodge on Sunday 12 July as part of a fundraising event for the St Nicholas’ church organ renovation project. An eclectic mix of old and new was planned and as always we were eager and anxious to see how the audience would respond.

Concert at Chute Lodge, Sunday 12 July 2015

Concert at Chute Lodge, Sunday 12 July 2015

On our journey from the station to Chute Lodge, Jon gave us the historical background of The Chutes and as the roads became narrower and more deeply tree-lined we knew we were heading somewhere special. The owner of the property at Chute Lodge, Andrew, welcomed us and showed us up to the room in which we would be performing, a grand and beautiful space ideal for chamber music. As Lachlan was getting ready, I took the opportunity to play some unaccompanied Bach to get a feel for the acoustic. From the first few notes a huge grin spread across my face as I realised we were in for a treat – a strong, rich and warm acoustic that would complement the chocolate tones of our instruments perfectly.

The concert went well and we were made to feel very welcome by the warmth of the audience. We were particularly keen to get the audience reaction to a brand new piece in our repertoire called Living Floors by Laurence Osborn which we will be recording on the Resonus Classics label in August. The fabulous drinks reception of Pimms and canapés that followed the concert gave us the opportunity to hear what the audience thought and we were thrilled to have such dynamic and thought-provoking conversations with many of those that attended. All too often the performers and the audience never properly meet so this was a rare treat for us.

As we made our way back to the train that evening Lachlan and I reflected on how special the day had been, how welcome we had felt and how much fun the music-making had been. And what had struck us most throughout the day was the incredible sense of community and friendship that permeated everything that was going on. Such occasions in a musician’s life are cherished and remembered for years to come.