2012 Is Just Around The Corner! - Lammermuir Festival
It must be the sudden absence of festival adrenalin, but I’ve been feeling washed out all week. So many happy memories, though. Could we ever have dreamed that ‘1000 Airplanes’ would be quite so gripping, and in the end moving? Or that St Mary’s Whitekirk would have such a miraculously perfect acoustic for the wonderful playing of the Navarra Quartet? For me, the decision to programme Menotti’s Violin Concerto was absolutely vindicated, both by Jenny Koh’s fiercely committed performance and by the evident pleasure of so many in the audience in the discovery of an unknown treasure. Seeing St Michael’s Inveresk packed for both the National Girls Choir and, especially, for Alison Balsom and the Scottish Ensemble was thrilling. And the potential parking debacle never materialised! Emily Hoile and Robyn Allegra Parton with some really distinguished music-making – plus tea, delicious cakes and Canalettos – made Sunday afternoon at Winton outstanding. Kurtág in Stenton – that was something to remember. Emily and Alison, charming the socks off the capacity audience in Yester Kirk. Emily with her clarsach inspiring the sixteen delightful kids at Humbie’s tiny Primary School on a morning that many of them will remember for ever.
Stile Antico in St Mary’s Haddington was just glorious and at least one audience member told me it was the best concert he’d ever been to. And indeed there was our audience – large and enthusiastic – and the special pleasure of greeting old friends from last year and meeting new ones who promised to return. Our audience is what makes the festival festive, and we can be proud of them.
The best cure for festival withdrawal symptoms is to get straight back into planning mode for next year’s festival – so, to that end, James and I will be getting together tomorrow to chew the fat over the many ideas that have been floating in and out of our minds for some time now. Inevitably they span a broad spectrum of lunacy from the mildly eccentric to the seriously deranged, but I think there are more than enough that are both exciting and achievable. At this stage it’s the usual incoherent jumble, like when you start a 1000-piece jigsaw and all the pieces seem to be unidentifiable bits of sky. But it will gradually coalesce over the next few months. Tantalising new venues keep suggesting themselves: could we do something at the truly astonishing Tantallon Castle? What about the lovely Seton Collegiate Church? And with the amazing new John Gray Centre opening in Haddington, can we do more to reflect East Lothian’s fascinating history? Next year’s festival will be from September 14-23. Will ten days be enough?!
Hugh Macdonald – Director