Last night was the first of 10 Around Britten concerts at National Trust venues and it was a joy. Up in the North East of England, only 15′ drive from Newcastle, is a magnificent property called Gibside where I played in the chapel, also the mausoleum for Mr Bowes snr. who built the place
The acoustic was just right for a solo cello – adding richness but retaining clarity – and the audience was very attentive and smiley. They lit dozens of candles so as the evening grew darker the candles came into their own which was magical. Here it is in daylight:
This was the view from the door of the chapel as we came out for interval drinks:
Which took place here:
The National Trust is something of a miracle really. Hundreds of places of such enormous beauty, indoors and out, with rich history and wonderful stories to boot. In a sense that’s the easy bit (even when you add the amazing restorations they undertake), but what really makes it for me is the staff – they are a little like musicians in that working for the Trust is something of a vocation; they frequently work much longer hours than they need to, and the smiles and enthusiasm when they talk about their property are infectious. Basically, it seems that you work for the National Trust because you love it (many of them are volunteers), and it’s that spirit that comes across on a visit and is the icing on the cake – it’s the same as the Olympics and the welcome that people from all around the world received in London last summer, and it’s available day after day at all these magical places.
So there you go, I’m in love with the National Trust – and the National Trust concerts on the tour continue as follows – tell all your friends!