SRP National Festival Edinburgh 2023
Following the SRP’s annual conference and AGM held unusually in the Tynecastle Stadium of Hearts’ Football Club late Friday afternoon, the weekend of playing began on the Saturday morning with a warm welcome and massed playing of Anne Martin’s Journey to Skye, one of two pieces commissioned for the festival and conducted by the composer. It was a great pleasure to have 20 children joining us for the performance. This was followed by five playing sessions, each lasting 50 minutes, with a choice of seven groups and conductors for each session (except four at lunchtime). A wide variety of music was available from the Renaissance to the present, including two choir music, which proved very popular as it had done at Ipswich. Saturday playing concluded with the first performance of Marg Hall’s Three Sketches of Scotland, again conducted by the composer. Following dinner and time in the shops, everyone enjoyed relaxing listening to a concert given by Spinacino, a broken consort of lute, recorder, viol, violin and soprano, entitled Songs of Love and Loss from Renaissance Scotland and Europe. A poignant moment was their performance of Dowland’s Flow my tears dedicated to Emma Murphy.
On Sunday there were three playing sessions, again offering a variety of music. Following Sunday lunch, was the conference report and the final massed playing session concluding the weekend with William Byrd’s Sing Joyfully and the Allegro from Thomas Erskine’s second Overture conducted by Anne Martin. As well as the Scottish theme to the festival, the 400th anniversary of Byrd’s death was also commemorated over the weekend with a musically illustrated talk tracing the development of his consort music and several playing sessions devoted to his music.