ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 22 AUGUST 2014
Was back for this year's piano camp in the Lot Valley - with a new tutor, the chamber musician, Susan Tomes. A few changes this year: instead of the course taking place at Anne Brain's house, we moved into a local hotel, Le Vert - a really sweet hotel surrounded by its own orchards and run by Eva and Bernard Philippe.
This year I took Schubert's Schwanengesang - along with an extremely talented young tenor, Gwilym Bowen. I didn't know the cycle well at all - but, at the end of six days of working on it, came away convinced that it's up there with Schubert's other cycles as a work of immense power and inspiration. Like the other cycles, it has some extremely tricky passages - including RSI-inducing songs that repeat the same pattern for up to nine pages. Oh for looser wrists.
Can't recommend le Vert too highly - small, intimate, friendly rural hotel with pretty sensational cooking. Some of us stayed nearby at le Canel - an extremely handsome fortified 16thcentury C farmhouse run as a a chambre d'hote by Elsbeth and Chris Hedges. Also highly recommended.