By Arachne

'Pied' Piper

By last night we had, in the previous 50 hours, been to five concerts, two makers' demos (explanations about instruments with added music) and two recitals. Since there was nothing at the Festival we wanted to go to this morning, we took ourselves off in the opposite direction to a concert in the building that three weeks ago won the Stirling Prize for architecture: "an inspiring example of architecture enabling elderly living without isolation, the John Morden Centre has been designed to encourage connection and movement among residents, supporting healthier and longer lives".

The new building had to be in sympathy with a 300-year-old listed building, to be designed around a large existing cedar and to incorporate (and bring up to standard) a 20th century octagonal hall - the hall in which concerts are held every Saturday morning for residents and others. 

The brickwork is lovely - both creating interesting patterns and echoing other nearby buildings - and I enjoyed the concert, despite it being interrupted by a two-minute silence. (I'm saving my Armistice rant for tomorrow). I sat right behind the cellist so could follow her score throughout. Not something I've done before.

Back at the Early Music Festival, this evening's concert was one of the most exciting I've ever been to. Erik Bosgraaf, a firework of a performer, has rescored Vivaldi's Four Seasons for bowed strings, lute and harpsichord - for this performance the Wrocław Chamber Orchestra - and him on recorder. I thought I'd heard the Four Seasons to death, most painfully as phone-hold music and plinketty muzak, but he utterly reclaimed it and showed me parts I'd never properly heard before. Completely magical. I know standing ovations are becoming much too common but for this one everyone in the audience of 250-300 was grinning with delight.

I talked afterwards with one of the cellists, and was shocked to hear that the 17-strong orchestra has travelled to the UK to do only one performance. How has a tour not been arranged? When they played it last week in Wrocław they had an audience of 2,000. Such a missed opportunity.

My journey back to Oxford took an hour longer than it should have done but I was still buzzing when I got home after midnight

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