23 December 2018

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Christmas Newsletter 2018

Happy Christmas everybody! Hope you are all enjoying the festive season.

It’s been a while since we last wrote, so here’s what we’ve been up to…

These last few months started and ended in the recording studio. In September we recorded Richard Blackford’s fantastic 7 Hokusai Miniatures for Nimbus Records. Recording this incredibly virtuosic music threw some challenges at us, but after many hours of practice and 9 hours in the studio we’re excited to hear the final result when it’s released on disc in the New Year!

September also saw a visit up north where we stayed with Ali’s parents in his hometown of Hexham for a few days, before giving a concert in the beautiful nearby town of Allendale. Back down to London in October, for a concert at Sutton House Music Society in The Old Church – incredibly, the only surviving Elizabethan church in London.

Later that month we paid a return visit to the Bridges Centre in Monmouth, where we’d performed back in January during the Wye Valley Festival. From here, and after much driving round in circles in pitch black country roads with no GPS, we based ourselves for a few days in the tranquility of the Brecon Beacons, in a small village called Llansadwrn (anyone know how to pronounce that?) Some intensive rehearsing, and a fiercely competitive tournament of table skittles in the local pub. Next stop – Lampeter, precisely one year on from our last visit, to wish our very special friend Carol a happy birthday! We all sent our silent apologies to Robert Schumann R.I.P. as we veered off the first few bars of his 3rd String Quartet into a raucous rendition of Happy Birthday to You.

From one beautiful countryside setting to the next – at the start of November we were fortunate to spend an intensive study period in the stunning setting of Lavethan, the home of Krysia Osostowicz (pictured with us on the right) and her family. Krysia helped us delve even deeper into Bartok’s 3rd Quartet, shedding new light on this incredibly complex score, interspersed with long walks and a visit to the local Blisland Inn.

No season would be complete for us without a visit to Liverpool University. As always, this term’s residency included a lunchtime concert in the Leggate Theatre, this time with the addition of the Ensemble + team from the Royal Northern College of Music, who set up a Live Stream so that an audience from the RNCM could join us live for both the concert and the subsequent Analysis workshop. We look forward to being back in February!

Heading a few hours East across the country, we performed in Scunthorpe Concert Society, where we are proud to say that we made quite a few Bartok converts amongst the audience! Thanks to Scunthorpe for the lovely review, which can be found here: https://scunthorpe-concert-society.co.uk/gallery-2018-2019/solem-quartet/

A concert in historic Westmoreland completed our recitals this season, leaving December free to focus on making a recording of Bartok 3 which we will post in the New Year. And  with two birthdays and Christmas coming up, we did manage to make time for some seasonal revelry too…here is Will, blowing out his mince pie candles:

So that’s it from us for 2018! Huge thanks again to all of you who have supported us this year, and in particular to our fantastic agent Sally – we’ve been so lucky to join Tashmina Artists this year and look forward to what 2019 will bring!

As always, see our website www.solemquartet.co.uk for future dates and news.

Have a great Christmas and New Year!

Love, Solems x