First Views of York

Well… it has been a few days since I last posted which I suppose gives me plenty of time to do enough interesting things that I can write about. 


Putting my gamba to bed

Pedro and I have gotten on a lovely schedule of spending the morning practicing and then using the afternoon to do whatever it is we need to do for the day. Tuesday we actually really spent most of the day practicing and getting work done and then went into York to go meet Ibi for tea before the Rose Consort concert. Ibi introduced us to Sam, another super cool viol player, and we all enjoyed tea and conversation. 


Meeting for tea in The Shambles, York.

Turns out, Ibi and Sam are also a duo and had been thinking of names and were going to settle on Touche and then realized that we were Les Touches. I guess a bit too close to comfort. So they are nameless as of yet. I would tell you how hard it is to chose a name for a group but Pedro and I honestly didn’t spend but 10 minutes deciding. At the time it was a name borne from necessity since we were playing for a concert and they asked us for our group name and we were like…. hmmm we don’t have one… and we were on a bit of a deadline. So Pedro went and opened Simpson (thats a viola da gamba treatise for you non viol players out there) table of contents and gave me a few options. I chose what  I thought looked cool and it stuck. At the time, we were advised by a dear teacher and friend not to use a foreign name for an American ensemble and we chose not to listen. After a few years of people trying to figure out the pronuciation of the word I see the wisdom in that comment. I honestly didn’t think it would end up being so difficult but honestly I guess I really don’t mind that most everyone doesn’t pronounce it right and sort of spends time trying to figure it out because they don’t forget it. Usually name picking is a much longer and more thought out process and often quite difficult because you have to make sure someone else doesnt have your great idea of a name and also that it is something you want to be stuck with.


The Shambles at night

I am stuck with a similarlly difficult task now as I strive to come up with logos for both Les Touches and for Viols of Houston. Sort of the same problem trying to think of an image that works well in many formats and that will be easily recognizable. All that time I didn’t spend trying to chose a name is coming to bite me in the bum and I feel like I’ll be working on this logo thing forever!!!!  

Anyhow…after we finished tea with Ibi and Sam we went over to the National Centre for Early Music and watched the Rose Consort (with whom Ibi plays). Amazing concert. Truly. So inspiring! Just a beautiful choice of repertoire and gorgeous playing. 


One of the windows in York Minster

Sooo. after that concert I have decided there are two kinds of wanting to fall asleep in a concert. 

Option A: the concert is either so bad or boring that sleeping seems to be the best option.

Option B: it is so beautiful and relaxing that every fibre of your being goes comotose and you want to fall asleep with contentment. You could die happy in your seat in that moment.

I felt option B during that concert and also in the concert we attended last night of “the Sixteen” at York minster. That was also a magical experience. What a space!!!!! 


Intermission at York Minster

 We had such a wonderful experience at both concerts that Pedro and I went a bit crazy buying recordings which is saying something since I very rarely buy recordings now a days. Spotify is the way I usually listen. But we are very excited about our recordings and when we get back we shall have a listening party so everyone can enjoy them as well. 


I do a lot of driving back and forward between Austin, San Antonio, and Houston to San Marcos. Lots! If I got paid for all the hours I drive I would be rich. This is my jam music right here. Roll my windows down in the summer and roll down the street with viol consorts at full volume. I feel a bit like white and nerdy gangsta when people drive by and look at me like ‘classical music what is that?’

Yesterday, we enjoyed a lovely lunch with Sam, Ibi, and their friend and composer Charlie. He is writing some new music for them which sounds like it will be quite cool! He’s completely lovely! We  had a ball. Then it was time for our first rehearsal at the National Early Music Centre. We met Janet, our contact at the festival, and sorted out some last minute details and then practiced our first program. It was a wwonderful thing to have reverb for the first time in 2 weeks. We have spent all of our time practicing in our tiny rooms and in the practice rooms at the Royal Academy of music and the sound just …. dies…a quick painless death… so when we started playing the other day and our notes kept going we both looked at each other like “I can still hear me!!!!” It certainly changes thngs to have a good space. 

The Lord Mayors Mansion

So I didn’t take any pictures of the inside of this mansion, but it was certainly beautiful. Large paintings and old antique furniture and crown molding around the ceilings…. I need a house like this…. Les Touches and the rest of the groups were invited to a reception here in the early evening so we could meet the other groups and start getting aquainted with those involved with the festival.  It was a pleasant evening. We ended up in conversation with another viol player… not by design but just because we sort of happened on each other… and I didn’t meet as many people around the room as probably I should have tried to… but oh well. There were more people than I could remember names for. I need flashcards or something….

We went straight to the concert of “the Sixteen down the road at the York Minster. Such a fantastic piece of architecture!



Look at the one ginger guy 4th in from the left with a go-tee. He looks quite cool eh? If not a bit creepy with his blank eyes. I feel like in a horror movies these guys would come right off the wall and attck someone.






No doubt I will be posting more pictures of the York Minster in the next few days. It’s a fun building to take pictures of. 

So…lastly, I will end with a picture of our very late dinner last night. . By the time we had gotten out of the concert we hadn’t eaten for about …7 hours. So we went a bit crazy but I really enjoy the pizza over here. Point blank in America I will just refuse to eat pizza because it is one of my least favourite foods on the planet… unless it is thin crust gourmet style. Also, it was about 50 F last night so I was quite cold andit was nice to have a nice cuppa and a hot meal in the evening.

A nice cuppa with two pizzas: Balsamic Vinager marinated figs with rocket and prosciutto, AND goats cheese, carmelized onion, and spinach

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s