Parnassian Ensemble back at the Festival of Chichester for first time since 2018

The Parnassian Ensemble return to the Festival of Chichester for the first time since 2018.

Parnassian Ensemble
Parnassian Ensemble

They will be offering Baroque Treats for a Summer's Evening at St Peter and St Mary Church, Fishbourne, PO19 3XT on Friday, July 8 at 7.30pm with composers to include Bach, Telemann, Purcell and Castello. Tickets £15, £13, £10 from the Festival of Chichester website.

The Parnassian Ensemble (Sophie Middleditch – recorder; Helen Hooker – recorder; Lynden Cranham – baroque cello; and David Pollock – harpsichord) are delighted to be back together again.

As Sophie says: “The pandemic was absolutely horrific. We had no concerts until March this year and that was the first one we had played since the end of 2019. It was a long time! But it was very nice. We started back with a bang. We played for the European Early Music Day and that was wonderful. It was quite nerve-racking to do a live streaming event as our first thing back but we were very pleased with the way it went.

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    “We had been doing some orchestral stuff and other concerts as individuals since about July or September last year and that was great too but it really was a big shock to the to the system to come back to performance. I was lucky that because I had David to work with in those two years during lockdown we covered quite a lot of repertoire that we would never have had the time to do before, but that was the only positive for the pandemic. And then it was actually quite hard to get your mind back to public performance which seems ridiculous because that's what we have been doing all our lives!

    “When you are practising, you are working on the music in the same way as you would if you were preparing for a public performance but there is the added pressure of playing to the public and how you present the music. You're not playing for yourself. You are playing for your audience.

    "But it's also about having the stamina. It is not so much the physical side because you can practise but it is the mental stamina to keep the concentration going. It is a discipline... a huge mental discipline that you need for performance and if you don't have the opportunities to play in public then that is something that can slip. We found that all of us felt the same. To start back performing again was amazing but it was also scary. It's quite nerve racking first time to be playing again in front of an audience after a long gap but it really was wonderful.

    “I don't think you come back to it with a different appreciation necessarily but it really is the relief of getting back to it and having that opportunity to make music with your colleagues. It's a very close relationship. We all have our foibles and we have a group dynamic. We are like a little family really and it really is the most amazing feeling to be in a room with other musicians and to make music with them.

    "The first time we did it again, at the end I found my eyes rolling up. I could not stop myself from crying. It was joy and it was relief!”