Chichester Festival 2009 Review
Yet another record number of entries were achieved for the guitar section of the Chichester Festival of Music held in February 2009. There were a total of 146 entries in 28 classes for the under 18s and 70 entries in 13 classes for the over 18s.
Many of her comments on performances applied equally to the children and adults and also to some advanced players as well as beginners. Firstly ensure that you are comfortable before you start playing. The footstool height may have been adjusted for someone of a different build to yourself, so take time to adjust it if necessary. Ensure the guitar is in tune. To avoid a false start, think through the first few bars before playing and get the tempo right.
There is the temptation to pull the strings upwards in an attempt to produce more volume. However, this just produces a rasping Bartok Slap sound as the strings hit against the frets. It is better to pull the strings sideways - this is how to pluck the strings - the other technique is used for plucking chickens! Left hand thumbs have a tendency to creep around the fingerboard. The thumb should always be hidden behind the neck, so that the fingers come down perpendicular to the fingerboard thereby not fouling adjacent strings. Right hand fingering should alternate between m and i, many players were repeatedly plucking with i which Helen likened to running a race and then hopping part way through. Although it is possible to play simpler pieces like this, as the music get more challenging this will not be possible so it is better to learn correctly from the beginning.
For general playing, Helen recommended playing over the sound hole. This not only produces a good tone but is also central for changing to ponticello for a more cutting sound or tasto for a more mellow tone.
|650||Novice age under 9||Non-competitive|
|650a||Beginner age under 9||Francesca Clayton|
|651||Solo Novice age 10-12||Non-competitive|
|651a||Solo Beginner age 10-12||Ayesha Gyening|
|652||Novice age over 13||Yoshiki Tobino|
|653||Solo age 12 & under||Matthew Veck|
|654||Family Ensemble||The Jenkin Duo|
|655||Solo age 12-15||James Li-Kam-Tin|
|656||Guitar Solo Bach age 12 & under||James Li-Kam-Tin|
|657||Bach Class age 13-18||Karim Bedda|
|658||Guitar Solo Open Age 18 & under||Sam Brown|
|659||Duet age 12 & under||Rose Duo|
|659a||Family Duet||The Forsyth Duo|
|660||Novice Duo||George Robinson & Andrew Creswick|
|661||Guitar Duet Age 18 & under||Inazuma Duo|
|662||Guitar Trio or Quartet Age 12 & under||Guns `n' Roses Quartet|
|664||Guitar Orchestra||The Prebendal Ensemble|
|664a||Advanced Guitar Ensemble||Ryusey Ensemble|
|665||Guitar + other instrument or voice||Philip & Patrick Sowden|
|665a||Self acc song||Zoe Barnett|
|665b||Self acc song age 10 & over||Alex Blake|
|666||Junior Recital Class Age 12 & under||ZoeBarnett|
|666a||Intermediate Recital Class Age 12-15||Patrick Sowden|
|667||Advanced Recital Class Age 18 & under||Karim Bedda|
|668||Technical Perfection age12 & under||Zoe Barnett|
|668a||Technical Perfection age 12-15||Adam Lack|
|668b||Technical Perfection Class Age up to 18||Sam Brown|
|663||Trio or Quartet 13 and above||Kaminary Quartet|
The pulse is the most important part of a piece, this should not slow down for ornamentations or when the going gets tough. That is not to say the piece should be played robotically, but the fundamental pulse must always be there. Wrong notes can go unnoticed, but glitches in the pulse will stand out. Nearly everyone should play with more colour and dynamics. Helen likened some playing to the flat Dutch countryside and advised going for a more dynamic landscape. Don't be afraid to exaggerate the colour, since minor changes can go unnoticed by the audience sitting some way away. She likened this to an actor on stage who has to make exaggerated gestures in order to convey his feelings. Conversely a film or television actor can convey his feelings with a facial gesture to a close up camera shot, but this would not be seen from the stage.
Helen advised that singing is a good way to understand a piece of music. When singing you are totally free of the technicalities that can dominate when playing the guitar. Furthermore, when singing, you are forced to breathe and pause. The guitar requires space to breathe. Unlike a wind player, the guitarist can keep playing and never pause for breath. Rests are just as important as notes. Furthermore at the conclusion of a section there is a tendency to rush into the repeat or the next section without paying due heed to the rest required.
|670||Adult Novice||Joanna Morris|
|671||Solo Intermediate||Samuel Stormont|
|672||Intermediate Duet||Sue & Andy Duo|
|672a||Novice Duet||Debian Duo/Tom Rimmer & Richard Frenkel|
|673||Advanced Duet||John Mason & Diana Green|
|674||Guitar + other Instrument||Tom & Diana Rimmer|
|675||Trio or Quartet||Arcadia Quartet|
|676||Guitar Orchestra||Regis Guitars|
|677||Solo open||Linda Kelsall- Barnett/Mitch Callow|
|678||Bach Open||Linda Kelsall- Barnett|
|679||Recital open||Linda Kelsall- Barnett|
|680||Song accompanied by Guitar||Tom Jeffers|
|681||Flamenco Class||Ray Reddick|
When playing in ensembles or an orchestra it is important to keep an eye on the conductor or leader so that the timing is held at the correct beat. Helen advised that when the guitar competes with a loud voice or other instrument, it is advisable to play a little nearer the bridge (but not ponticello). This will give a more strident tone that will cut through the sound of the other instrument or voice.
This was yet again a very enjoyable festival with some wonderful playing. Having seen many festivals now, the most striking feature is how the performances improve year on year. We were treated some outstanding concert performances not only from the advanced players, but also the beginners played very well indeed.
As always many thanks are due to Sasha and Nina for getting the show on the road. Not only during the weekends of the festival, but for all the work behind the scenes - encouraging entries, collecting fees, preparation in timetabling, collating certificates, chasing trophies etc so that the festival runs smoothly. Thanks also to the helpers (Jez, Maureen, Debbie, Julie, Moyria and Ian) for manning the door, helping Helen, keeping the refreshments going, washing up and generally tidying up. Thanks also to the teachers, but above all, to all those who took part and shared their wonderful music with us.