Speaking of regulations, on the eve before we travelled to Germany the regulations changed and we would be required to take a Covid-19 test. The test was administered by an efficient and charismatic medical professional at the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg, and the results arrived just about an hour after the last sample was taken. Thankfully all of us tested negative. There was a gargantuan effort from all concerned to ensure that the project actually happened, and that it could happen safely; we are all immensely grateful to them. After the results were returned there was a palpable sense of relief that none of us would have to quarantine away from home.
The Laeiszhalle is a fantastic hall. I have previously had the pleasure of performing Handel's Joshua with the Göttingen Handel Festival Orchestra in 2014 and a Purcell programme with the Gabrieli Consort in 2018 - and it was Purcell, again, that would be the focus of Solomon's Knot's 'Purcell Pageant' programme on this occasion.
The Purcell Pageant had so many highlights worthy of mention including a memorable 'Strike the Viol' by alto Kate Simmonds-Joy, a brilliant 'Hark the Echoing Air' by soprano Clare Lloyd-Griffiths, memorable moments from tenor Andrew Tortise and a chilling 'Winter' by Alex Ashworth to name but a few, but once again the vocal ensemble took the honours with their scintillating and apt (and also memorised) encore of Telemann's 'Mitten wir im Leben sind mit dem Tod umfangen' (In the midst of life we are in death) composed in Hamburg in 1762. The orchestra also sparkled in the final piece (before the encore) with the ever-joyful Chaconne from King Arthur, with bows of unbridled delight in the string section (led by Kinga Ujszaszi).
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Monday night's fitting encore from our concert at the @laeiszhalle : Telemann's 1762 Hamburg setting of Luther's 'Mitten wir im Leben sind mit dem Tod umfangen' (In the midst of life we are in death). Vielen Dank Hamburg! Wir sind so glücklich, dass wir für Sie spielen dürften; eine unvergessliche Erfahrung. #laeiszhalle #hamburg #telemann #dasaltewerk #earlymusic
It was fantastic to hear applause again and witness two consecutive standing ovations in this beautiful hall. The NDR's microphones captured the programme and the concert will be broadcast shortly before Christmas.
We returned back to London Heathrow Airport, and the so-called 'travel corridor' from Germany to England remained in place during our visit, meaning that no quarantine upon return was required on account of Germany's comparatively low infection rate.
Just a few days after our return, a cultural lockdown in Germany was pronounced meaning that concert halls will close in many, if not all, parts of the country. It made our trip feel all-the-more miraculous, and we were all thankful that this musically-fulfilling project happened safely in these unsettling times.
Brandenburg Baroque Soloists
Brass Instrument Making
English Slide Trumpet
Guts and Glory
Göttingen Handel Festival
Historic Royal Palaces
Isle of Man
Le Concert Lorrain
Les Talens Lyriques
Natural Trumpet Courses
Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century
Royal Academy of Music
Royal Society of Musicians
Toyota Classics Tour 2018
Trumpet and Organ
Wrocław Baroque Orchestra