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Hello Spring, Hello Manchester!

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

Why, hello there. It's only been three months and I am already writing again! Maybe this is a blog after all. A few things have happened since the last time you heard from me. For one, I have a new website. Tadaa... (Thank you Michael Goodson for letting me sign it!)

Another rather big change is that I am now Section Leader of the fabulous second violins at The Hallé. I'm over the moon to have officially joined the orchestra and I can't wait to get stuck in properly. Keep an eye on the Hallé website - some very exciting things happening over the next few months!

 

In early March, Mainly Two released a new album: Outside the Mask. [Bandcamp Friday this week - go buy it!] This is a fully improvised record that explores the nuances of life: the things that are neither yes nor no, the feelings that are perceptible yet indescribable and the shades that flicker between the colours we are aware of.

Improvising has become a much bigger part of my practice and performance over the past year and I'm growing increasingly grateful for it. There are, of course, many languages to improvise with but for me at the moment, my language seems to be the unlimited search for new sounds and for an ever-evolving tone. This intense proximity to my instrument, physically and aurally, is immensely precious to me. Attempting to truly discover what my violin has to offer and what we are able to express together is feeding into every aspect of my musical life, from practice and study to interpretation and collaboration. I know there is a plethora of colours that I am yet to discover, from the sweetest, serenest voice to... truthfully, I'm not actually sure what the opposite of that would be. Finding the sounds that used to horrify me and the noises that used to be ugly, testing the limits of how much I can bare is a strangely satisfying experience and I highly recommend it to anyone.

 

An excerpt from the release above was also Mainly Two's contribution to this year's Peace in Concert online festival. You can watch all performances in this playlist. I also recorded a little solo concert featuring music by Eugène Ysaÿe, Lisa Streich, Ben Gaunt and Dobrinka Tabakova. Skip to 2'45'' if you're as bored of my voice as I am...

The festival is organised by Tomiko Hamada Taylor in Japan and is a wonderful coming-together of artists from all over the world purely to share their music and provide a day of harmony and peace in a world where the lack of both is intensely apparent. Her festival is a poignant reminder amidst all the horror to not forget about the beauty in this world.

 

Before you go, let me recommend some things. First up, read John Garner's article on the plurality of being. Beautiful, insightful and powerful writing.



Next, check out Eden Lonsdale's debut album Clear and Hazy Moons featuring Apartment House and Rothko Collective. Eden's music is incredibly human and goes straight to the gut and heart. Listen with headphones and in a hammock (optional).


And finally, there is a playlist on the Riot Ensemble YouTube channel that makes me so proud to be calling these people my colleagues. There's immense skill on show here!

Love and laughter,


Marie

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