Ahead of our second season concert opener, EmmaLee, Jesse, Heath and I had the blissful opportunity to "retreat" to New Hampshire to the beautiful setting of Avaloch Farm Music Institute. Surrounded by the fall foliage in extravagant form, we found ourselves in the perfect place to explore the Haydn and the Beethoven together. With the busyness of day-to-day Newport String Project life temporarily on hold, we were ready to dig in to the process. Rehearsals featured nitty gritty decision making ("how about a down bow there?" "can we take a little time there?"), tried and trusted rehearsal techniques (rehearsing with backs to each other) and the occasional dramatic reading of Heath's notes from his Beethoven Quartet Seminar at Rice.
Rehearsal breaks often featured trips to the bottomless cookie jar (thanks Diane!), sunset canoeing and bonding with four-legged friends.
Heath and Emmy resolving rehearsal differences
Jesse meets Jessie
Posing with our muse Snoozer
Of course, few things will energize an appetite more than rehearsing string quartets. Happily, there was no need for alarm as Avaloch's culinary maestro-in-residence Will took wonderful care of us all. Mealtimes were a highlight, not only for the food, but as a chance to connect with our colleagues from the other visiting chamber groups - the Diderot Quartet and the Meadowlark Piano Trio. In that shared experience of focused rehearsal, an easy and natural sense of camaraderie evolved. On the final night of our stay, each of the groups performed for an intimate audience of guests at Avaloch. From movements of Haydn and Mozart exquisitely performed on period instruments by the Diderot Quartet to a memorized performance of Ravel Piano Trio by the Meadowlark to the epic journey of op. 130, it was quite an evening and inspiration to treasure!
A heartfelt thanks to Fred, Deb, Will, Diane and all the staff at Avaloch for their work in bringing this special place to life...