Greenwich Early Music Festival 2009
Shawms, Bagpipes, Baroque Flutes & Magic
The Greenwich Early Music Festival opened dramatically with the first London storm of the Winter:
The festival was vast with almost a hundred exhibitors, some in the Painted Hall, others tucked away down corridors in the Old Naval College.
There was the usual atmosphere of friendly fanaticism unique to early music shows (rivalled only by gatherings of Wagner fans). Wherever you looked someone was blowing, scraping, plucking, honking, parping, or in deep conversation about the efficacy of catgut violin strings.
Many of the instruments were exquisitely beautiful.
There was a good showing of sweet-voiced smallpipes:
And some of the best historical renaissance, baroque and romantic flutes in the world:
Bow makers were out in force:
A festival superstar - a nine foot theorbo:
Walk a few feet and find a serpent:
Then a table of crumhorns and shawms:
Sit down for a cup of tea and someone plays Mozart, note-perfect, on a fortepiano nearby:
Or Bach on a bass viol:
Most of all the festival was about music as active, living, magical: to be done with family and friends, not just consumed, passively, in a concert hall. Room for both, of course, but early music people are special.
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16th November 2009
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