The Cerne Abbas Festival comes to an end

13th August 2013 | Concerts, Daily Life, Musings, Travel | 4 comments

me at Cerne Abbas

Another Cerne Abbas festival has come to an end. Remembering last year’s dreadful weather, during which one of the group had to drive to Dorchester to buy some thermal undergarments, I had packed some rather warm concert clothes, which I regretted as soon as I realised how sunny this year’s festival was going to be. In the event I was overdressed and boiling hot in most of the concerts, especially the daytime concerts, when the sun was streaming through the clear glass window behind us, making me feel as if I were positioned under a laser.

I especially enjoy seeing the same people in the audience year after year. And this year was unexpectedly enjoyable for me as a pianist because the piano, which I have been playing at this festival for years, had undergone a major refurbishment at Steinway’s since I last played it. As a result it felt and sounded like a different piano. I relished hearing the newly mellow, rounded tones resonating across the church. Sometimes, when I was playing something by myself, I even held certain notes or chords longer than I had planned to, just for the pleasure of hearing the singing tone as it hung in the air. The purity of my interpretation was corrupted by sensuality!

After such an intense week, with seven completely different concerts in four days, I felt quite depleted. This kind of exhaustion is a curious sensation, because although I feel mentally up to the task of so much playing, my body lets me know that it’s been quite a strain. The spirit is willing, etc! I was mostly silent on the journey home, and went to bed early.


  1. Violinist

    Lovely photo and entry! Thank you. These are all things that audience members care about, too: whether it matters that the musicians feel the attention of the audience, the qualities of the setting, and the impact of momentary impressions on performances. Wish I could have been there!

  2. Alison

    Thank you for the wonderful music (and thank you to Bob for his fascinating talk). We have already put next year’s dates in the diary!

  3. James B

    Susan, you have played everything from Antonin Dvorak to Zemlinsky… I was wondering which piece or pieces you absolutely adore to play and enjoy returning to again and again?

    Another very cheeky question to ask without paying for a lesson, but in a piece with lots of octaves (such as Chopin’s Nocturne opus 9, no. 1) I have noticed that many editions have fingerings for these passages that are not just 5-1 for all of the octaves. I am learning this piece and 5-1 for most of the octave passages seems to fit most easily under my fingers. As piano trio music involves a lot of octaves I wonder what your advice about this is?

  4. Shirley Smith

    Is there going to be music festival this year,please? 2016.


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