We were fortunate to have our Fringe performance Quanto Dolce just before Covid-19 stopped all of us from being able to perform for the time being. But as with other performing companies, all our performances for the rest of the year are now postponed, cancelled or in doubt.
The response of many musical performers and groups to this enforced hiatus has been to try and keep performing, by temporarily moving online with digital performances, collaborations, or streaming recordings. Music is an art form that can work well across a range of media, and these performances have been something to light up the sometimes long and dreary days. This has also allowed many performers to keep active and performing, even if not in ways they prefer.
But you may have noticed that The Queen’s Closet hasn’t joined in with this digital musicking. While making recordings and performing across the internet is one way to keep making music, it’s not something that is compatible for the vision we have for The Queen’s Closet. We make our music meaningful by performing live with an audience who we engage directly with, just as it would have been at the time this music was written. Live performance with an audience is not possible at present, so as a group we are silent for the time being, which is difficult. We enjoyed our last performance so much, as we do all our performances, and were humbled and delighted to have wonderful audience feedback and be nominated for two Fringe awards. Following on from this we were looking forward to musicking with concert-goers throughout 2020 with a range of programmes, from the more conventional programme of Bach and Vivaldi with Nota Bene, to some more experimental and exploratory programmes. We’re still hopeful that the programme with the Bach Choir of Purcell’s Hail Bright Cecilia and the Biber Requiem in A will go ahead later this year.
Our enforced hiatus has had the unexpected benefit of giving us all the opportunity to spend some quality time with our charismatic and characterful instruments. So we have been musicking in different ways, talking, arranging and planning music and performances, and experimenting with mouthpieces, reeds, staples, strings and bows!
But, we need to perform live to exist. It is the only way for us. So, as we look forward to a future easing of restrictions on gatherings, we are contemplating and planning ways of performing live as soon as possible. Big audiences and large venues are unlikely to be possible in the near future. But here is our opportunity. Our performances work best in intimate and informal settings, with smaller audiences. While the internet is not fruitful ground for us, the next stages we anticipate post-lockdown of small venues with small audiences will be perfect for us. As soon as small groups of people can share a space together we can perform again.
So how to aim for the same lively and engaging events, within whatever government restrictions we all need to follow in the current climate? We have some exciting ideas, and we look forward to seeing, and more importantly to musicking with you again soon.